In 2016, the University of Miami Business Law Review hosted its second online symposium to discuss the potential ramifications of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Fisher v. University of Texas II.
In Fisher II, the Court considered whether the University of Texas’ use of racial preferences as a consideration in the undergraduate admissions process constituted a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Court’s decision on whether affirmative action was constitutional lead to massive changes within the education system’s admissions process that had a spill-over effect into everyday business decisions across the U.S. Fisher II was argued before the Supreme Court on December 9, 2015.
In a 4-3 decision that ruled in favor of the University of Texas, the Court determined that the admissions process did not violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The majority opinion was delivered by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy on June 23, 2016. The Court held that the University of Texas’ use of race as a factor in the holistic review used to determine which students should be accepted into the university was narrowly tailored to serve a compelling state interest. It is important to note that the holistic review was only implemented once the Top Ten Percent Plan had determined which students were accepted into the university. Prior precedent had determined that educational diversity is a compelling interest as long as it is expressed as a concrete and precise goal that is neither a quota of minority students, nor an amorphous idea of diversity. In this case, the Court determined that the University of Texas sufficiently expressed a series of concrete goals, a reasoned explanation for its decision to pursue these goals, and a thoughtful consideration of why previous attempts to achieve the goals had been unsuccessful. The Court also determined that the university’s plan was narrowly tailored to serve a compelling interest concluding that there were no other available and workable alternatives to achieve these particular goals.
VOLUME 24, ISSUE 2 (ONLINE SYMPOSIUM)
Table of Contents
Adam Lamparello, The More Things Change, the More they Stay the Same: Why Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin Will Not Fundamentally Alter the Affirmative Action Landscape, 24 U. Miami Bus. L. Rev. 1 (2016).
Junis L Baldon, Getting Real About Race and Class: An Evaluation of the Constitutionality of Class-based, Socioeconomic Affirmative Action Without Grutter, 24 U. Miami Bus. L. Rev. 19 (2016).
Jonathan R. Zell, It’s Not About Race: The True Purpose of the University of Texas’ Holistic Admissions System is to Give Preferences to Well-Connected White Applicants, Not to Disadvantaged Minorities, 24 U. Miami Bus. L. Rev. 35 (2016).
Jay Alan Sekulow & Walter M. Weber, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin: The Incoherence and Unseemliness of State Racial Classification, 24 U. Miami Bus. L. Rev. 92 (2016).
Francisco M. Negrón, Jr., Diversity is Dead. Long Live Diversity: The Racial Isolation Prong of Kennedy’s PICS Concurrence in Fisher and Beyond, 24 U. Miami Bus. L. Rev. 99 (2016).
Shakira D. Pleasant, More than Just the Numbers: Fisher v. Texas and the Practical Impact of Texas’s Top Ten Percent Law, 24 U. Miami Bus. L. Rev. 111 (2016).