MEDIA RELEASE: Fifth Circuit Upholds Race Preferences at University of Texas

July 15, 2014




Contact: Glenn Landstrom

Phone: 517-643-5514



Fifth Circuit Upholds Race Preferences at University of Texas

Gratz Says Ruling Demonstrates Why SCOTUS Should Strike Down Grutter


NATIONAL – On Tuesday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals once again upheld race-based affirmative action policies at the University of Texas in Fisher v. University of Texas. The Fifth Circuit’s previous ruling in this case was in question after a US Supreme Court decision in June 2013 that determined the lower court had not properly applied the Supreme Court’s “strict scrutiny” requirement to the racial policy at Texas’ flagship university.


Jennifer Gratz, CEO of the XIV Foundation, was not surprised by the outcome. “The Fifth Circuit ruled decidedly in favor of race-based policies before; it is not shocking to see them do so again,” she remarked. “This decision demonstrates the fundamental murkiness of the Grutter v. Bollinger allowance for nuanced uses of race in admissions.”


“In the Grutter dissent, Justice Ginsburg rightly pointed out that the Court was allowing racial preferences to continue with ‘winks, nods, and disguises.’ This has led universities to hide race-based decisions behind a supposedly holistic review process. In reality they are the same discriminatory policies with even less transparency. Citizens deserve to have clarity when it comes to whether or not universities are holding their skin color against them.”


Gratz was happy to hear that Abigail Fisher will appeal the decision. “Grutter has only muddied the water on these unsustainable policies, and, ironically, today’s Fisher decision leaves the door open for the Supreme Court to issue the broad ruling many pundits expected from its first hearing.”




The XIV Foundation is dedicated to the principle that equal treatment is the essence of civil rights and that all people are entitled to civil rights. Jennifer Gratz challenged racial discrimination in the admissions policy at the University of Michigan and won at the U.S. Supreme Court (Gratz v. Bollinger). She spearheaded the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative and is the co-founder and CEO of the XIV Foundation.