The following is a comprehensive list of major Supreme Court decisions that have addressed affirmative action. The cases are organized by the type of program at issue and are accompanied by a very brief overview of the relevant facts.
Katzenbach v. Morgan, 384 U.S. 641 (1966) – General Laws
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 prohibited the enforcement of a NY law that limited the right to vote to those who were literate in English. The Act provides that no person who has completed the sixth grade in a public school, or an accredited private school, in Puerto Rico in which the language of instruction was other than English, shall be disfranchised for their inability to read or write English. Registered voters from NY challenged the constitutionality of the Act in federal court. The District Court found the Voting Rights Act in violation of the Tenth Amendment and found in favor of the NY voters.
The Supreme Court took the appeal directly holding that the Voting Rights Act was a proper exercise of Congress’s powers, and under the Supremacy Clause the NY English literacy requirement was unenforceable.
DeFunis v Odegaard, 416 U.S. 312 (1974) – Higher Ed. Admission (Race)
A white applicant to the University of Washington Law School was denied admission. He then sued in WA state court against the Board of Regents of the University of Washington claiming to have been denied admission because of his race and that the admissions policy was unconstitutional. The applicant sought an injunction ordering the school to accept him, which the trial court granted. He was then admitted to the law school in September 1971. The Board of Regents appealed to the WA Supreme Court, who reversed, holding that the admissions policy did not violate the constitution.
The Supreme Court held that this claim was moot because the student was eventually admitted, was poised to graduate, and the parties agreed that any substantive decision would not prevent his graduation.
Justice William O. Douglas, a prominent liberal on the court, wrote a passionate dissent arguing the case was “not moot” and “because of the significance of the issues raised…it was important to reach the merits”. Justice Douglas argued that rather than using racial preferences, the analysis should focus on other socioeconomic factors, an applicant’s potential, and class. Douglas stated that the “Equal Protection Clause” does not “prohibit law schools from evaluating an applicant’s prior achievements in light of the barriers that he had to overcome,” arguing that an applicant should be “offered admission not because he is black,” but because “he has shown he has the potential.” In turn, this type of policy focusing on individual attributes would not be limited to any specific racial group, but may apply equally to a “a poor Appalachian white,” Asian applicants, or any American whose “lineage is so diverse as to defy ethnic labels” that may “demonstrate similar potential.” Justice Douglas challenged the ability of universities to consider applicants in a racially neutral way, stating that “any state-sponsored preference to one race over another” is “‘invidious’ and violative of the Equal Protection Clause.” Ultimately, Justice Douglas believed the “Equal Protection Clause commands the elimination of racial barriers, not their creation in order to satisfy our theory as to how society ought to be organized.”
Hazelwood School District v. United States, 433 U.S. 299 (1977) – Employment (Race)
In 1973, the federal government sued the Hazelwood School District (located in Missouri, just northwest of St. Louis), alleging that the district discriminated against Blacks in its hiring of teachers. The government’s case was based both upon allegations of discrimination against specific individuals, and a statistical case that, given the relevant labor market, the number of Blacks teaching at Hazelwood was implausibly small. The District Court found that the none of the individual allegations of discrimination were supported by the evidence, found nothing illegal in the district’s employment practices, and found the statistical case unpersuasive because the racial makeup of teachers in the district was similar to the racial makeup of the (predominantly white) student body. The Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit reversed this last finding, holding that the racial makeup of teachers in the district differed dramatically from the racial makeup of teachers in the greater St. Louis area.
The Supreme Court vacated the Eighth Circuit decision and remanded the case for further proceedings. The case is significant because of its extended discussion of the role statistics play in establishing a Title VII violation. The Court appeared to hold that a disparity between the racial makeup of an employer’s workforce, and the racial makeup of the relevant labor market, could establish a Title VII violation, but that the comparison must be done with care. The Eighth Circuit had erred by not taking into account that only Hazelwood’s recent hiring decisions were subject to Title VII (because Title VII was only extended to state and local governments in 1972), and by too facilely assuming that the City of St. Louis, which aimed to have a 50% black teacher workforce, should be included in the relevant labor market. Hazelwood was taken by many employers as a mandate to seek racial proportionality in hiring, or at least to carefully document reasons for departing from racial proportionality.
Regents of the University of California v Bakke, 438 U.S. 265 (1978) – Higher Ed. Admission (Race)
The Medical School of the University of California at Davis had a special admissions program that was only for “economically and/or educationally disadvantaged” applicants and members of a minority group. The general admissions program set a minimum GPA requirement, but the special program did not. 16 applicants from the special admissions pool were selected each year. Under the program, a white applicant was denied while special applicants with weaker applications were accepted. The white applicant sued in state court alleging a violation of the Equal Protection Clause, the CA Constitution, and § 601 of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and seeking both invalidation of the program and admission to the school.
The CA Trial Court found the admissions program violated the Federal and State Constitutions and Title VI because it operated as a race quota. The applicant’s admission was not ordered for lack of proof that he would have been admitted but for the special program.
The CA Supreme Court applied a strict scrutiny standard in holding the program violated the Equal Protection Clause because it was not narrowly tailored. However, because the University could not satisfy its burden of demonstrating that the respondent, absent the special program, would not have been admitted, the court ordered his admission. The Court did not make a ruling as to Title VI or the CA Constitutional questions.
The Supreme Court rejected the use of a racial quota but permitted considering race as a factor in the admissions process. Thus, the Court of Appeals decision was reversed as it prohibited considering race at all. The Court also ordered the applicant to be admitted.
United Steelworkers of America v. Weber, 443 U.S. 193 (1979) – Employment (Race)
A collective bargaining agreement reserved 50% of the openings in a training program for black workers, until the percentage of black employees reflected the percentage of blacks in the local labor force. A white employee challenged the program in court. The District Court found the plan in violation of Title VII. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that all employment preferences based upon race, including those preferences incidental to bona fide affirmative action plans, violated Title VII’s prohibition against racial discrimination in employment.
The Supreme Court held the plan was permissible under Title VII, as Title VII does not condemn all private, voluntary, race-conscious affirmative action plans. Because the plan did not impede the interests of white employees, was a temporary measure, and its purpose aligned with Title VII, the plan was found to be permissible.
Fullilove v. Klutznick, 448 U.S. 448 (1980) – Set-Aside Program (Federal)
The “minority business enterprise” (MBE) provision of the Public Works Employment Act of 1977 required that, absent administrative waiver, at least 10% of federal funds granted for local public works projects must be used by the state or local grantee to procure services or supplies from businesses by minority group members. Minority group members were defined as United States citizens “who are Negroes, Spanish-speaking, Orientals, Indians, Eskimos, and Aleuts.” Several associations of construction contractors, subcontractors, and a firm engaged in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning work, filed suit for declaratory and injunctive relief in federal court. The plaintiffs alleged that they had sustained economic injury due to enforcement of the MBE requirement. Additionally, the plaintiffs claimed that the MBE provision on its face violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and the equal protection component of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment. The District Court upheld the validity of the program. The Court of Appeals affirmed.
The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the objective to remedy past discrimination was within Congress’s spending power. Additionally, the use of racial and ethnic criteria as a condition attached to a federal grant is a valid means to accomplish this objective.
Mississippi University for Women v. Hogan, 458 U.S. 718 (1982) – Higher Ed. Admission (Gender)
Mississippi University for Women denied enrollment to otherwise qualified men to its School of Nursing. A male registered nurse that did not have a degree was denied admission. He sued in federal court claiming a violation of the Equal Protection Clause.
The District Court upheld the policy as it found it bore a rational relationship to the state’s legitimate interest “in providing the greatest practical range of educational opportunities for its female student population.” It further stated that such policy is consistent with the well accepted theory that single-sex education affords unique benefits to students.
The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the proper standard required determining whether the State had carried the heavier burden of showing that the gender-based classification was substantially related to an important governmental objective. It further found that the University could not meet this burden, therefore the policy violated the Equal Protection Clause.
The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the policy was unconstitutional. Specifically, the policy perpetuated the stereotype that nursing is a job for women. Additionally, the policy was not substantially related to the objective of compensating for past discrimination against women.
Building Trades & Construction Trades Council of Camden County v. Mayor and Council of the City of Camden, 465 U.S. 208 (1983) – Set-Aside Program (New Jersey)
In response to a statewide affirmative action program, the city of Camden, NJ, adopted an ordinance requiring that at least 40% of the employees of contractors and subcontractors working on city construction projects be Camden residents. An association of labor organizations filed an appeal in state court challenging the New Jersey Treasury Department’s approval of the ordinance.
The New Jersey Supreme Court certified the appeal directly and rejected the Association’s challenges to the ordinance’s validity, including the claim that the ordinance violated the Privileges and Immunities Clause of Article IV of the Federal Constitution. The court held that the Clause did not apply because the ordinance discriminated based on municipal, not state, residency and had identical effects upon out-of-state citizens and New Jersey citizens not residing in Camden.
The Supreme Court held that the ordinance was subject to the Privileges and Immunities Clause. The Court stated that, on remand, it would need to be determined whether the ordinance violated or was protected by the clause, and if there is a substantial reason for the discrimination.
Firefighters Local Union No. 1784 v. Stotts, 467 U.S. 561 (1984) – Employment (Race)
Memphis Fire Department was sued in federal court for discriminating against Blacks in hiring and promotion decisions. The District Court entered a consent decree to remedy the effects of the policies. The City then announced layoffs due to budgets cuts and the District Court preliminarily enjoined the Fire Department from following a seniority system of layoffs, which would result in a racially discriminatory effect and was not bona fide. Instead, the Department carried out a modified plan, which laid off more senior white employees than black employees with less seniority.
The Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court enjoinment holding that although the District Court was wrong in holding the seniority system was not bona fide, it had acted properly in modifying the consent decree.
The Supreme Court held that the enjoinment leading to the modified layoff plan cannot be justified as an effort to enforce the consent decree or as a valid modification thereof.
Johnson v. Transportation Agency, 480 U.S. 616 (1986) – Employment (Gender)
An affirmative action plan adopted by Santa Clara County Transportation Agency authorized consideration of the applicant’s sex in making promotion decisions. The plan, while not specifying a certain number of positions for minorities or women, required that short-range goals be established and annually adjusted to serve as the most realistic guide for actual employment decisions. A male employee, who was passed over for a promotion in favor of a female, challenged the plan claiming it violated Title VII.
The District Court found that sex was a determining factor in the decision, and that the plan was not temporary, making it invalid pursuant to United Steelworkers of America v. Weber, 443 U.S. 193 (1979). The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that an express termination date was not dispositive because the plan repeated a goal of attainment rather than maintenance, and it had no fixed percentage of positions for minorities or women. Moreover, the consideration of sex as a factor was lawful.
The Supreme Court held sex was appropriately considered as one factor in determining that the female employee should be promoted. The Court further held that the plan was consistent with Title VII because it represented a moderate, flexible, case-by-case approach to effecting a gradual improvement in the representation of minorities and women.
Wygant v. Jackson Board of Education, 476 U.S. 267 (1986) – Employment (Race)
A collective bargaining agreement between a school board and a teachers’ union provided that at no time will there be a greater percentage of minority personnel laid off than the current percentage of minority personnel employed at the time of the layoff. This resulted in nonminority teachers being laid off while less senior minority teachers were retained. The laid off nonminority teachers sued in federal court.
The District Court upheld the constitutionality of the layoff provision, holding that the racial preferences granted by the school board need not be grounded on a finding of prior discrimination. The District Court found the provision to be permissible under the Equal Protection Clause as an attempt to remedy societal discrimination by providing “role models” for minority schoolchildren. The Court of Appeals affirmed.
The Supreme Court held this provision was unconstitutional because there no factual determination that the board had a strong basis of evidence that such a provision was necessary.
Steel Metal Workers v. EEOC, 478 U.S. 421 (1986) – Employment (Race)
In 1975, Petitioner Union was found guilty of violating Title VII by discriminating against nonwhite workers in recruitment, selection, training, and admission to the union. The District Court ordered an affirmative action plan in which the union had to establish a 29% nonwhite membership goal by July 1981 based on percentage of nonwhites in the NYC labor pool. Noncompliance resulted in the District Court finding the union in contempt with the fine going toward a fund to be used to increase nonwhite membership. The original affirmative action plan deadline was extended to August 1987. Petitioner appealed. The Court of Appeals affirmed.
The Supreme Court Affirmed the judgment, holding the contempt fines were proper and that imposition of nonwhite membership goal and the fund were permissible under Title VII and the Equal Protection Clause.
Firefighters v. Cleveland, 478 U.S. 501 (1986) – Employment (Race)
An organization of black and Hispanic firefighters filed a class action against Cleveland for violating Title VII by discriminating on the basis of race and national origin in hiring, assigning, and promoting firefighters. The District Court entered a consent decree providing for race-conscious relief and other affirmative action in promoting firefighters. The Court of Appeals affirmed.
The Supreme Court held that Title VII does not preclude entry of a consent decree that may benefit individuals who were not actual victims of the defendant’s discriminatory practices. The Court further held that if Title VII precludes a court from imposing certain forms of race-conscious relief after trial, it does not apply to relief awarded in a consent decree.
United States v. Paradise, 480 U.S. 149 (1987) – Employment (Race)
A District Court ordered the Alabama Department of Safety to select more black state troopers as corporals. The District Court ordered that “for a period of time,” at least 50% of those promoted to corporal must be black, if qualified black candidates were available. Additionally, the District Court imposed a 50% promotional requirement in the other upper ranks. However this latter requirement was only if there were qualified black candidates, if a particular rank were less than 25% black, and if the Department had not developed and implemented a promotion plan without adverse impact for the relevant rank.
The Department promoted eight blacks and eight whites under the District Court’s order and submitted its proposed corporal and sergeant promotional procedures. The District Court then suspended the 50% requirement for those ranks. The United States appealed. The Court of Appeals affirmed.
The Supreme Court held that this order was permissible under the Equal Protection Clause and passed strict scrutiny.
California Federal Savings & Loan Ass’n v. Guerra, 479 U.S. 272 (1987) – Employment (Gender)
The California Fair Employment and Housing Act required employers to provide leave and reinstatement to employees disabled by pregnancy. Title VII, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), specifies that sex discrimination includes discrimination on the basis of pregnancy.
A woman took pregnancy leave, but when she was ready to return, she was told that her job had been filled with no similar positions available. She then filed a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, which charged her employer with violating The California Fair Employment and Housing Act. Her employer sued in federal court seeking a declaration that the California Fair Employment and Housing Act is preempted by Title VII, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.
The District Court granted summary judgment for the employer finding the California law was preempted because “California employers who comply with state law are subject to reverse discrimination suits under Title VII brought by temporarily disabled males who do not receive the same treatment as female employees disabled by pregnancy.” The Court of Appeals reversed holding that the assertion that the California Fair Employment and Housing Act discriminates against men “defies common sense, misinterprets case law, and flouts Title VII and the PDA.” The Court of Appeals further held that Title VII merely sets “a floor beneath which pregnancy disability benefits may not drop—not a ceiling above which they may not rise.”
The Supreme Court held that the California law was not preempted by Title VII, as amended by the PDA, because it was not inconsistent with Title VII’s purposes nor did it require any unlawful acts under Title VII.
Martin v. Wilks, 490 U.S. 755 (1989) – Employment (Race)
Consent decrees imposed goals on Birmingham, Alabama and Jackson County, Alabama for the hiring and promotion of black firefighters. White firefighters sued the city and county board claiming to have been passed over for job opportunities in favor of less qualified Blacks.
The District Court held that respondents were precluded from challenging employment decisions taken pursuant to the consent decrees and granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss. The Court of Appeals reversed rejecting the “impermissible collateral attack” doctrine that immunizes parties to a consent decree from discrimination charges by nonparties for actions taken pursuant to the decree.
The Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Appeals’ decision, holding that the firefighters were not precluded from challenging the employment decisions taken pursuant to the consent decrees.
City of Richmond v. J.A. Croson Co., 488 U.S. 469 (1989) – Set-Aside Program (Virginia)
Richmond, Virginia adopted a Minority Business Utilization Plan that required prime contractors award city construction contracts to subcontract at least 30% of the dollar amount of each contract to one or more “Minority Business Enterprise.” This was defined to include a business that was at least 51% owned and controlled by Black, Spanish-speaking, Oriental, Indian, Eskimo, or Aleut citizens. Under the plan, waivers were provided when there was proof that qualified Minority Business Enterprises were unavailable or unwilling to participate. Although deemed “remedial,” it was adopted after a public hearing at which no direct evidence was presented that the city had discriminated on the basis of race or that its prime contractors had discriminated against minority subcontractors.
A construction company that was the sole bidder on a contract was denied a waiver and lost the contract sued in federal court under 42 U.S.C § 1983, alleging a violation of the Equal Protection Clause. The District Court upheld the plan. The Court of Appeals, in applying the deference granted to Congress in Fullilove, affirmed.
However, on certiorari to the Supreme Court, the case was remanded back to the Court of Appeals, with instructions to apply strict scrutiny. In applying strict scrutiny, the Court of Appeals found the program to be unconstitutional as: (1) the plan was not justified by a compelling governmental interest, since the record revealed no prior discrimination by the city itself in awarding contracts, and (2) the 30% set-aside was not narrowly tailored to accomplish a remedial purpose. The Supreme Court affirmed.
Metro Broadcasting, Inc. v. Federal Communications Commission, 497 U.S. 547 (1990) – Employment (Race)
Two minority preference policies were adopted by the FCC. First, the FCC awarded an enhancement for minority ownership and participation in management, which was weighed with other factors to compare license applications for new radio or television broadcast station. Second, the FCC adopted a “distress sale” policy, allowing a radio or television broadcaster whose qualifications to hold a license have come into question to transfer that license before the FCC resolves the matter in a noncomparative hearing. However, the transferee must be a minority enterprise that meets certain requirements. Both policies were implemented in FCC orders that were challenged in the Court of Appeals. Metro Broadcasting sought review of the FCC order in the Court of Appeals. Shurberg Broadcasting sought review of an FCC order approving a distress sale of a television license to a minority enterprise. The Court of Appeals invalidated the distress sale policy because it deprived Shurberg, a nonminority applicant for a license in the relevant market, of its right to equal protection under the Fifth Amendment.
The Supreme Court held that the FCC policies do not violate equal protection since they bear the imprimatur of longstanding congressional support and direction and are substantially related to the achievement of the important governmental objective of broadcast diversity.
Adarand Constructors v. Pena, 515 U.S. 200 (1995) – Set-Aside Program (Federal)
Most federal agency contracts must contain a subcontractor compensation clause. The clause mandates prime contractors a financial incentive to hire subcontractors certified as small businesses controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. Additionally, the clause requires the contractor to presume that such individuals include minorities, or any other individuals found to be disadvantaged by the Small Business Administration. A construction company subcontractor, who was not awarded a subcontract despite providing the lowest bid, sued in federal court claiming a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fifth Amendment.
The District Court upheld the program. The Court of Appeals affirmed, applying a standard resembling intermediate scrutiny, which it determined to be required by Fullilove and Metro Broadcasting.
The Supreme Court remanded to determine if the program satisfied strict scrutiny.
United States v. Virginia, 518 U.S. 515 (1996) – Higher Ed. Admission (Gender)
Virginia maintained a military college exclusively for men. The United States sued Virginia and Virginia Military Institute, alleging the policy violated the Equal Protection Clause.
The District Court found in favor of Virginia, but the Court of Appeals reversed ordering Virginia to remedy the violation. Virginia proposed a parallel program for women, the Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership (VWIL). The District Court found the proposal satisfied the Equal Protection Clause.
The Court of Appeals affirmed finding the provision of single-gender educational options was a legitimate objective. Maintenance of single-sex programs, the court concluded, was essential to that objective. In applying a standard that determined whether the programs provided “substantially comparable benefits” the court found the two programs were comparable.
The Supreme Court reversed finding that the reasons for excluding women from the citizen soldier program failed intermediate scrutiny and that the remedial program with the separate school was not a comparable program.
Gratz v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 244 (2003) – Higher Ed. Admission (Race)
The University of Michigan allocated 20 points, out of the 100 necessary for admission, to students who were classified as an “underrepresented minority.” A white applicant who was denied admission filed a class action in federal court. The suit alleged violations of the Equal Protection Clause, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and 42 U.S.C. § 1981. The District Court upheld the program.
The Supreme Court granted certiorari before the Court of Appeals could make a ruling. The Court held this process was not narrowly tailored because the allocation of points rendered race a decisive factor in the admissions process. Thus, it found the program to be in violation of the Equal Protection Clause, Title VI, and § 1981.
Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306 (2003) – Higher Ed. Admission (Race)
The University of Michigan Law School considered race and ethnicity as factors in its admissions process. A white applicant denied admission filed suit in federal court alleging that the process violated the Equal Protection Clause, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and 42 U.S.C. § 1981.
The District Court found the use of race unlawful because the process was not used to remedy past discrimination, and diversity was not a compelling interest. Moreover, even if diversity was a compelling state interest, the court found the admissions process was not narrowly tailored.
The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that Bakke established diversity as a compelling state interest. Additionally, the use of race was narrowly tailored because race was merely a “potential ‘plus’ factor” and the admissions program was identical to that of Harvard’s lauded by Justice Powell in Bakke.
The Supreme Court found that the school’s use of race was narrowly tailored and furthered the compelling interest of a diverse student body. Thus, it was constitutional.
Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School Dist. No. 1, 551 U.S. 701 (2007) – Education (Race)
Two school districts, in Washington and in Kentucky respectively, implemented student assignment plans that relied on racial classification to allocate slots in oversubscribed high schools. Additionally, racial classifications were used in elementary school assignments and transfer requests. Parents sued in federal court alleging such plans violated the Equal Protection Clause.
In the Washington case, the District Court found the program survived strict scrutiny because it was narrowly tailored to serve a compelling government interest of racial diversity. The Court of Appeals affirmed.
In the Kentucky case, the District Court found that the school district had asserted a compelling interest in maintaining racially diverse schools, and that its plan was narrowly tailored to serve that interest. The Court of Appeals affirmed.
The Supreme Court reversed both holdings, finding that the districts failed to show that use of racial classifications in their student assignment plans was necessary to achieve racial diversity.
Ricci v. DeStefano, 557 U.S. 557 (2009) – Employment (Race)
An objective examination used to identify firefighters best qualified for promotion resulted in white candidates outperforming minority candidates. As a result, the city threw away the results of the exam. White and Hispanic firefighters who passed the exam, but were denied a chance at promotions, sued the city alleging a violation of Title VII. The District Court granted summary judgment in favor of the city. The Court of Appeals affirmed.
The Supreme Court held that this action was unconstitutional because there was no strong evidence that acting on the test results would be subject to disparate-impact liability.
Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, 570 U.S. 297 (2013) (Fisher I) – Higher Ed. Admission (Race)
The University of Texas at Austin considered race as a factor in its undergraduate admissions process. The university modeled its process after the decisions in Grutter and Gratz. A white applicant was denied admission and sued in federal court, alleging that the University’s consideration of race violated the Equal Protection Clause.
The District Court granted summary judgment to the University. The Court of Appeals affirmed. The court held that Grutter required substantial deference to the University, both in defining the compelling interest in diversity’s benefits and in deciding whether its specific plan was narrowly tailored to achieve its stated goal.
The Supreme Court issued a remand, requiring the claim be analyzed under strict scrutiny because the Court of Appeals failed to apply such standard.
Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, 572 U.S. 291 (2014) – General Laws
Michigan voters adopted Proposal 2, a constitutional amendment prohibiting affirmative action in public education, employment, and contracting. Various organizations filed suit in federal court claiming that the amendment violated the Equal Protection clause.
The District Court upheld the amendment. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the amendment was in violation of the political process doctrine derived from Washington v. Seattle School Dist. No. 1, 458 U.S. 457, 102 S.Ct. 3187, 73 L.Ed.2d 896, and Hunter v. Erickson, 393 U.S. 385, 89 S.Ct. 557, 21 L.Ed.2d 616.
The Supreme Court held that there is no authority in United States Constitution that would allow the judiciary to set aside the amendment.
Fisher v. The Universiity of Texas at Austin (Fisher II), 136 S. Ct. 2198 (2016) – Higher Ed. Admission (Race)
On remand from the Court in Fisher I, the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit used the proper legal standard, strict scrutiny, and found the admissions process constitutional. The Supreme Court affirmed.