Attorney General Greg Abbott filed a brief today urging the U.S. Supreme Court to reject a case challenging the University of Texas at Austin's practice of considering applicants' race in the admissions process.
The case was originally filed in 2008 by two white students who were denied admission to UT. One of them, Abigail Fisher, is attempting to get the matter before the Supreme Court after the practice was upheld by courts in Austin and New Orleans.
In 2003, the Supreme Court upheld affirmative action policies at the University of Michigan Law School, and this opportunity to revisit the issue has drawn significant interest outside of Texas. It also comes at a time, as noted by the Austin American-Statesman this week, that the federal government has begun pushing new guidelines "suggesting that schools use race and factors that are often proxies for race, such as socioeconomic status, in making decisions on whom to admit."
Among the claims made by the state's lawyers in their argument against hearing the case is that Fisher, as an individual plaintive, lacks a significant personal stake in the matter. "Fisher is scheduled to graduate from Louisiana State University in May 2012," it reads, and "at this point she cannot possibly assert an intent to apply to UT-Austin as a freshman or transfer student."
The brief adds that it would not be prudent for the Supreme Court to delve into what is, it says, ultimately a $100 dispute. "Fisher’s sole demand for retrospective relief is for a refund of her $50 application fee and a $50 housing deposit that she paid the University — that is all that is at stake in her petition," it says. "But neither the application fee nor the housing deposit represents an 'injury' caused by UT-Austin’s admissions policies."
You can read the entire brief here: