(Austin, Texas) — Judge Robert Pittman of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas granted the University of Texas at Austin’s motion to dismiss Monday in Students for Fair Admissions Inc. vs. University of Texas at Austin, a case which attempted to strike down the university’s race-conscious admissions policy. Judge Pittman’s ruling also dismisses the case entirely with prejudice, finding that SFFA’s founder, Ed Blum, and Abigail and Richard Fisher had essentially brought the same lawsuit against UT-Austin in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin and were barred under “res judicata” from bringing this lawsuit. (The Supreme Court upheld UT-Austin’s admissions policy in that challenge in 2016).
“For years, the race-conscious admissions policy at the University of Texas at Austin has helped to advance racial diversity and make certain that underrepresented students of color are not overlooked when applying for admission. This ruling is a key victory not just for the policy, but also for advancing diversity in higher education in Texas and affirmative action overall.
“This is the third time SFFA has attempted to bring another lawsuit, and the third time they have failed. Race touches every part of a students’ life, and we need race-conscious admissions policies to continue dismantling the structural inequality that pervades our country. As our nation becomes increasingly diverse, our college campuses must keep pace, and today’s ruling makes certain that will continue in Texas.”
The Lawyers’ Committee and pro bono counsel from Hunton, Andrews, Kurth LLP and Bernabei & Kabat PLLC represent the Texas NAACP, the Black Student Alliance, the Texas Orange Jackets and a multiracial group of students as defendant-intervenors. Although Judge Pittman denied their motion to dismiss based on standing, they joined UT-Austin’s motion to dismiss based on res judicata.
About the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law – The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice for all, particularly in the areas of voting rights, criminal justice, fair housing and community development, economic justice, educational opportunities, and hate crimes. For more information, please visit https://lawyerscommittee.org.