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The Supreme Court just issued a major ruling in favor of affirmative action

The eight-year long battle revolves around Abigail Fisher, who was rejected from The University of Texas in 2008 and argued she was racially discriminated against for being white.
Abigail Fisher outside the Supreme Court in 2015. (Photo by J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

The Supreme Court upheld The University of Texas's race-conscious policy on Thursday in a 4-3 decision, allowing supporters of affirmative action to rest after an eight-year long legal battle by the disgruntled Abigail Fisher.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, and Sonia Sotomayor all ruled in favor that UT did not violate the equal protection laws, and can continue factoring race into account during admissions.


Fisher, who was rejected from UT in 2008, brought the case forward on the premise that she believed she was racially discriminated against for being white.

"I was taught from the time I was a little girl that any kind of discrimination was wrong," she said in 2012. "And for an institution of higher learning to act this way makes no sense to me. What kind of example does this set for others? A good start to stopping discrimination would be getting rid of the boxes on applications — male, female, race, whatever."

In addition to a holistic admissions process, the university operates on the "Top Seven Percent" rule, in which students who are in the top seven percentile of their high school class are automatically admitted. When Fisher was rejected, the margin was larger, with UT accepting those who were in the top 10 percentile — she was in the top 12.

Despite her cries of discrimination, a ProPublica examination of the case showed that out of the 42 people with lower test grades who were admitted over Fisher, only four of them were people of color — the rest were white. This, among other things, is what lead so many people supporting affirmative action to roll their eyes at the case, and prompted popular hashtags by black students such as #StayMadAbby.

Proponents of affirmative action have been biting their fingernails over this case for years. The Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled in the university's favor in 2012, and the decision was remanded by the Supreme Court in 2013, only to be appealed again by Fisher. In late 2015, the Supreme Court decided to hear the case again.

Despite the ruling not being in Fisher's favor, it will have little to no impact on her life. After rejecting an offer to UT's year long transfer program from their satellite school in San Antonio, she received a degree from Louisiana State University in 2012, and currently works as a business analyst in Austin, Texas.

Follow Adam Hamze on Twitter: @adamhamz