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Hopwood v. Texas

Is the Admissions Program an Approriate Remedy for Past Discrimination?

The District Court The Court of Appeals
The Effects of Past Discrimination

The record provides strong evidence of some present effects at the law school of past discrimination in both the University of Texas system and the Texas educational system as a whole.  Therefore, the Court finds the remedial purpose of the law school's affirmative action program is a compelling governmental interest.

  • Hopwood v. Texas, 861 F. Supp. 551, 571 W.D. Tex. 1994)                                      

The district court erred in expanding the remedial justification to reach all public education within the State of Texas.

  • Hopwood v. Texas, 78 F.3d 932, 950 (5th Cir. 1996)     

For purposes of determining whether the law school's admissions system properly can act as a remedy for the present effects of past discrimination, we must identify the law school as the relevant alleged past discriminator.

  • Hopwood v. Texas, 78 F.3d 932, 952 (5th Cir. 1996)

Recently, however, the Supreme Court held that a system of higher education is under an affirmative duty to eliminate every vestige of racial segregation and discrimination that required or contributed to separation of the races.

  • Hopwood v. Texas, 861 F. Supp. 551, 571 (W.D. Tex. 1994)                            

We further reject the proposition that the University of Texas System, rather than the law school, is the appropriate governmental unit for measuring a constitutional remedy.

  • Hopwood v. Texas, 78 F.3d 932, 951 (5th Cir. 1996)
 

Even if the law school's alleged current lingering reputation in the minority community--and the perception that the school is a hostile environment for minorities--were considered to be the present effects of past discrimination, rather than the result of societal discrimination, they could not constitute compelling interests justifying the use of racial classifications in admissions.

  • Hopwood v. Texas, 78 F.3d 932, 953 (5th Cir. 1996)

The law school's use of the program until the OCR [Office for Civil Rights] has determined Texas is in compliance with Title VI and until the gap in minority and nonminority credentials has narrowed such that the State will remain in compliance with Title VI without the need for affirmative action does not offend the Constitution.

  • Hopwood v. Texas, 861 F. Supp. 551, 575 (W.D. Tex. 1994)

Even if the law school were specifically ordered to adopt a racial preference program, its implementation at the law school would have to meet the requirements of strict scrutiny.  To the extent that the OCR has required actions that conflict with the Constitution, the directives cannot stand.

  • Hopwood v. Texas, 78 F.3d 932, 952 (5th Cir. 1996)
 

This or other subsequent panels of our court may well disagree with the aggressive legal reasoning employed by the Hopwood II panel, but it cannot be said that, as a matter of law, the panel's decision is "dead wrong."

  • Hopwood v. Texas, 236 F.3d 256, 274 (5th Cir. 2000)