Roughly a year after the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of the University of Texas’ race-based admissions policy, the architect for the case is back fighting for equal rights before the Texas Supreme Court.
Edward Blum, director of the Project on Fair Representation and the Abigail Fisher in the case of Fisher v. University of Texas, is taking the University of Texas to court again over its race-based admission policies, this time arguing the policy violates the Texas Constitution.
Blum argues that the Texas Constitution prohibits discrimination based on “sex, race, color, creed, or national origin” according to the Texas Equal Rights Amendment, passed by voters in 1972.
The United States Supreme Court issued an opinion in Fisher v. University of Texas twice, once in 2013 and once in 2016, with the court most recently ruling in favor of the University of Texas’ race-driven admission policy 5-3. The court rejected Blum’s argument that the university admissions policy violated equal rights guarantees found in the United States Constitution.
While the composition of the United States Supreme Court has changed since the addition of Neil Gorsuch earlier this year, it is unlikely that the current Court would rule differently now.
However, the Texas Supreme Court may be a different story.
The university claims that race is only a small factor in determining which students are admitted, and that race is not factored in when the top 10% rule is used.
According to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the rule ends up accounting for three quarters of students admitted to the University of Texas. It provides automatic admission for those Texas high school graduates ranking in the top ten percent of their graduating class.
However, the top 10% rule has faced tough scrutiny by the legislature in recent years and has been reduced in its scope. With the future of the rule in jeopardy, it is possible UT’s race-based admissions policy could impact even more students in the future.
Blum is right. UT’s racially-motivated admissions policy violates the Texas Constitution. The Texas legislature should put an end to UT’s race-based policies once and for all. If they don’t, then the courts should step in to put a stop to them.