The national group Students for Fair Admissions filed a lawsuit this week against the University of Texas-Austin, saying that at least two white students within its 20,000-member organization were denied admission to the school due to race.
The suit says the consideration of race in the admissions process is unconstitutional.
It is not the first time the school has faced a lawsuit like this. UT's affirmative-action policy has come under fire several times since Abigail Fisher sued the school in 2008, arguing the use of race in admissions was unconstitutional and the reason UT denied her admission.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of UT in 2016, allowing them to continue using race and ethnicity as a factor in admissions decisions.
Despite the Supreme Court upholding the legality of using race as a factor in admissions, including as a protected factor under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, Students for Fair Admissions argued in its lawsuit this week that affirmative action is unconstitutional under that same clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
"The Supreme Court did not give the University of Texas a blank check to use race-based preferences in perpetuity, and the university has failed its obligation to reexamine its policies. This blatant failure to follow the Court's instructions is confirmation that [the previous decision] will need to be overruled in order to restore the Equal Protection Clause's command of racial neutrality."
The UT System, its Chancellor James B. Milliken and UT's interim president Jay Hartzell are among the many defendants named in the suit.
This is the group's second suit since the 2016 Supreme Court decision. It lost the first one in 2019 on the grounds that race was not a factor in the previous plaintiff's denial of admission. The group is also party to legal challenges against Harvard's affirmative-action system, which, like UT, were declared to be constitutional last year.
"The university is reviewing the new lawsuit from SFFA," UT spokesman JB Bird said. "We agreed with the judge's decision to dismiss SFFA's previous lawsuit, and we remain confident in the lawfulness and constitutionality of UT Austin's holistic admissions policy, which the U.S. Supreme Court upheld in 2016."
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