After a historic week for the Supreme Court, during which justices legalizedsame-sex marriage and overturned EPA regulations, the Court announced Monday it would review a 2013 case concerning affirmative action at the University of Texas at Austin.

The Supreme Court will rule on the case in the upcoming fall session in early October.

In 2008, Abigail Fisher, a white student, was denied undergraduate admission to the University of Texas at Austin for reasons she claimed were racially biased. During litigation for the case, named Fisher v. University of Texas, Fisher alleged that the school’s admissions policy was in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The University of Texas admits students under the Texas Ten-Percent Plan, a system that guarantees admission to in-state students who graduate within the top ten percent of their high school class. Because of the plan, eighty-one percent of incoming freshman at the University of Texas were automatically offered admission in 2008.

While race is not considered in admissions for students covered by the Ten-Percent Plan, race remains a factor in the admissions process for applicants of the University of Texas who do not graduate within the top ten percent of their high school class. Fisher graduated in the top 12 percent of her class; however, because of her grades and extracurricular activities, she believed she deserved admission.

The case brought to light complications concerning the Texas Ten Percent Plan, which subsequently prevented the University admissions office from adopting a similar policy.

However, some campus groups, like the Coalition for Defending Affirmative Action, advocate for it. If the University were to adopt a similar plan, the top students in every high school in Michigan would automatically be offered admission, which some believe would naturally create an incoming class of students from diverse backgrounds.

The Supreme Court considered the case for eight months before reaching a 7-1 decision in 2013 that Fisher’s case would be retired to a lower court. The ruling was based on Grutter v. Bollinger, a 2003 case in which Barbara Gutter, a white student, was denied admission to the University of Michigan Law School in 1997. She cited the University’s use, at the time, of race as a “predominant” factor in the admission process as the reason for her disadvantage as a white applicant.

Grutter v. Bollinger paved the way for affirmative action as the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the University, upholding universities’ consideration of race in admissions processes.

When Fisher v. University of Texas was reviewed by the Fifth Circuit Court, the court found the University of Texas did not use affirmative action excessively in their judgement of Fisher’s application process. In a statement, the 2-1 majority of the Fifth Circuit Court said: “To deny UT-Austin its limited use of race in its search for holistic diversity would hobble the richness of the educational experience.”

During its initial hearing in the Supreme Court, many pro-affirmative activist groups worried the Fisher v. University of Texas ruling would overturn Grutter v. Bollinger and ban the use of affirmative action in university admissions processes altogether. For some, this fear has resurfaced as the Supreme Court has agreed to review the case again this October.

In 2006, Michigan residents voted in favor of Proposal 2, which banned the use of affirmative action in admissions decisions to the state’s public universities.

At the time, former University President Mary Sue Coleman strongly opposed the motion.

“We defended affirmative action all the way to the Supreme Court because diversity is essential to our mission as educators,” Coleman said. “Regardless of what happens with Proposal 2, the University of Michigan will remain fully and completely committed to diversity.”

However, enrollment numbers for minority students have dwindled with the removal of affirmative action.

Since Michigan’s vote on Proposal 2, seven other states have also banned the use of affirmative action in college admittance.

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