Skip to main content
Tarlton Law Library logo Texas Law Home Tarlton Law Library Home
Today's Hours:
Today's Hours
More Hours

Hopwood v. Texas

Hopwood v. Texas: Timeline of Events

In 1996, the U.S. Court of Appeals prohibited UT Law from using race as one of many admissions criteria. This timeline outlines the history of the case:

  • 1978: U.S. Supreme Court rules that universities may consider race in admissions, to maintain diverse enrollment or to remedy past discrimination (Bakke v. Regents of University of California).
  • 1983: To comply with federal desegregation order, State of Texas commits to affirmative action in professional school admissions and to goals for minority enrollment.
  • 1992: Cheryl Hopwood and others sue the University of Texas, claiming that they were denied admission to the Law School because of it preferred black and Mexican-American applicants.
  • 1994: U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks rules that Law School may consider race in admissions, to maintain diverse enrollment or to remedy past discrimination.
  • March 1996: The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals holds that any consideration of race, even as one factor among many, is unconstitutional.
  • June 1996: U.S. Supreme Court declines to review the decision. All affirmative action ends in admission to public universities in Texas.
  • March 1998: U.S. District Judge Sparks finds that none of the plaintiffs would have been admitted to the Law School in a color-blind admissions system. Judge Sparks enters a formal order implementing Court of Appeals' opinion, prohibiting all future consideration of race in admissions.
  • December 2000: The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals finds that plaintiffs would not have been admitted; reaffirms its earlier opinion prohibiting all future consideration of race in admissions.
  • April 2001: The State of Texas petitions the U.S. Supreme Court to review the decision.
  • May 2001: The U.S. Supreme Court allows the University of Washington to continue using affirmative action when it declines to review the 9th U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals' decision that allows the use of race as one factor in admissions.
  • June 2001: Supreme Court declines to review decision of 5th Circut Court of Appeals in Hopwood v. Texas.
  • July 2001: U.S. District Judge Sparks denies request for further proceedings, thus precluding further appeal on the merits of affirmative action.
  • October 2001: U.S. District Judge Sparks awards supplemental attorneys fees to the plaintiffs.
  • November 27, 2001: Both sides announce they will not appeal the award of fees.

Source: Professor Doug Laycock, University of Texas School of Law, 2001.