Following several months of deliberations, U.S. Supreme Court justices have vacated a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit which had upheld the race-conscious admissions policy at the University of Texas at Austin.
In their 7-to-1 ruling, from which Justice Elena Kagan was recused, the court held that the Fifth Circuit was incorrect in upholding a lower court’s summary judgment in favor of Texas because the lower court had failed to apply strict scrutiny to the university’s policy.
Justices ruled that the lower court should have required UT to prove its program was narrowly tailored enough to produce the diversity objectives it was designed to achieve.
The court left intact its precedent that diversity can be a compelling government interest.
That closely watched affirmative-action case now goes back to a lower court for additional deliberation.
Rather than settling this long legal battle over a race-conscious admissions policy, the high court called for that fight to continue to be waged.