On Dec. 7, The University of Texas at Austin and school officials filed a brief in opposition to Abigail Fisher’s U.S. Supreme Court petition for writ of certiorari. The Office of the Texas Attorney General represents UT and the officials. In Fisher’s Sept. 15 writ petition, she alleges racial considerations by UT’s officials disadvantaged her when the school denied her admission in 2008. She is white. U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks granted UT and its officials’ motion for summary judgment on Aug. 17, 2009. On Jan. 18, a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the constitutionality of UT's consideration of race in its 2008 admissions process. The 5th Circuit denied en banc review on June 17. In Fisher’s cert petition, she framed the question for the high court: "Whether this Court's decisions interpreting the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment including Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306 (2003), permit the University of Texas at Austin's use of race in undergraduate admissions decisions." The Dec. 7 brief in opposition states that the court should deny cert for four reasons: Fisher, who will graduate in May 2012 from Louisiana State University, lacks the personal stake needed to pursue an injunctive remedy; Fisher’s petition alleges no split among the circuit courts of appeals; with Fisher’s admissions in her petition that UT doesn’t have a specific racial goal set for its student admissions, she has “no room to argue” that “UT engages in blatant racial balancing”; and “Even if members of this Court are inclined to reconsider Grutter, [Fisher’s case] is a demonstrably improper vehicle, given the limited question presented, the fatal concessions that Fisher made below, and the intractable jurisdictional problems that plague her petition.” Bert Rein , a partner in Washington, D.C.'s Wiley Rein who represents Fisher, says he expects to reply to the brief’s objections within or before the 10-day court deadline. Rein notes on his initial reading of the UT and its officials’ brief that the tone “is remarkably strident.” Thomas Kelley, a spokesman for the OAG, declines comment in an email. Robert Meckel, a spokesman for UT and its officials, did not comment immediately.
-- Miriam Rozen