Texas Asks Court to Reconsider Hopwood
AUSTIN, Texas — The University of Texas, last month, asked the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider its Hopwood ruling, the decision that led to the elimination of affirmative action policies at the state’s public colleges and universities.
“This case addresses one of the most important issues of our time … and it deserves the fullest possible hearing and a most careful decision by the federal courts,” says Dr. Larry R. Faulkner, president of the university.
The Hopwood ruling came in a lawsuit against the University of Texas law school’s former affirmative-action admissions policy. The ruling, which found that the policy discriminated against Whites, was allowed to stand in 1996 by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Former Attorney General Dan Morales then issued a legal opinion directing Texas colleges to adopt race-neutral policies for admissions, financial aid, and scholarships. But legislators asked new Attorney General John Cornyn for a second opinion. His office helped university officials write the appeal.
According to University of Texas System Regent Patrick Oxford, the Hopwood ruling left Texas at a competitive disadvantage with other public universities in recruiting students. The appeal argues that limited consideration of race in admissions is necessary to overcome the effects of past discrimination. It also says the school has a compelling interest in a racially and ethnically diverse student body.
A study released in January by the state comptroller’s office showed a drop in the number of minorities applying for, being admitted to, and enrolling in some of the state’s most selective public schools.
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