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Statement by LDF President and Director-Counsel John Payton on the Vital Importance of Higher Education Diversity in Response to the Supreme Court's Decision Today to Review the University of Texas at Austin's Race-Conscious Admissions Policy

NEW YORK, Feb. 21, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, the first federal appellate challenge to the use of race in university admissions since the Court's landmark 2003 decision in Grutter v. Bollinger.  Last year, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit unanimously affirmed that UT Austin's admissions plan is consistent with Grutter, which provided a workable standard for colleges and universities to select student bodies throughout the nation.  The NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF) has participated in the case as a friend-of-the-court and presented oral argument in the Fifth Circuit on behalf of the Black Student Alliance at UT Austin in support of the positions taken by the University.

"The benefits of diversity are unquestionable and as the Fifth Circuit recognized, UT Austin's policy falls squarely within the four corners of the Supreme Court's landmark 2003 decision in Grutter v. Bollinger.  We trust that the Court will reaffirm that the educational benefits of diversity are a compelling interest that colleges and universities can and should pursue for the good of our students, our communities, and our nation."

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