NAACP Files Brief in Support of University of Texas Admissions Standards Case

BALTIMORE, MD – The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and its Texas State Conference this week filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court supporting admissions standards at the University of Texas at Austin.

In a brief filed Monday, lawyers for the NAACP asked the court to continue allowing a “holistic review” of student performance when determining entry for college applicants.

“Race is merely a fraction of one factor that admissions officers may consider when looking at an applicant as a unique individual,” the brief states. “UT’s constitutionally permissible holistic review process recognizes the simple truth that race is still relevant in American society, and that race may help shape and inform individual perspectives and experiences.”

This is the second time the Court will hear arguments in the case filed by Texas resident Abigail Fisher, who was denied admission to the university in 2008 and challenged the decision in federal court, claiming that the university’s consideration of race in its admissions process violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.  The case was sent back to the Fifth Court of Appeals, which upheld its previous ruling.

In the brief, attorneys for the NAACP cite the long history of racial segregation in Texas, which creates a compelling interest for the university to seek racial and ethnic diversity in its student body. The brief also notes that Fisher failed to meet threshold academic qualifications and therefore was not injured by the university’s consideration of the race of any applicant who did meet those threshold standards.

Oral arguments in Fisher vs. Texas are scheduled for December 9.