Chris Brook, of the North Carolina chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said people were predicting a sweeping affirmative action decision in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, but instead the court handed down a decision that affirmed existing case law. The court reiterated that judges need to apply strict scrutiny when evaluating admission preferences, which Brook said was no different from what the court had articulated previously.
“In North Carolina, I think the way universities ran their admission process on Friday will be exactly the same as they run their admission tomorrow after the decision came out,” Brook said.
Brook also said it was a positive outcome that the majority recognized that having diversity in the classroom was a compelling government interest that could partly serve to satisfy the strict scrutiny standard. He said there was nothing in the opinion that gave any hint as to where the majority would eventually come down on the constitutionality of Texas’ admission program.
“If anyone is the loser here, it’s the Fifth Circuit and the district court, who did not apply strict scrutiny and need to go back now and do so,” Brook said.