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The Future of Affirmative Action: Fisher v. University of Texas


Fisher v. University of Texas is a case currently before the United States Supreme Court concerning the affirmative action admissions policy of the University of Texas at Austin. The case, brought by undergraduate Abigail Fisher in 2008, asks that the Court either declare the admissions policy of the University inconsistent with, or entirely overrule Grutter v. Bollinger, a 2003 case in which the Supreme Court ruled that race could play a limited role in the admissions policies of universities. An overruling of Grutter could end affirmative action policies in admissions at U.S. public universities. What are the implications for the future of affirmative action, including what could happen at Stanford if the court disallows diversity as a justification for race-based admission?

Panel presentation, discussion, and reception, featuring Professor Deborah Rhode (law), Professor Allyson Hobbs (history), and Tom Fenner, Deputy General Counsel, all of Stanford University.

This event is free and open to all. Click here to share this event. 


  • Deborah Rhode headshot
    • Ernest W. McFarland Professor of Law, Stanford Law School
    • Founding Director, Stanford Center on the Legal Profession
    • Director, Program on Social Entrepreneurship, Stanford Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law
    • Clayman Institute Faculty Research Fellow, 2010-2011
    • Barbara D. Finberg Director, 1986 - 1990
    • Faculty Advisory Committee Chair, Center for the Advancement of Women’s Leadership
    Deborah L. Rhode is one of the country’s leading scholars in the fields of legal ethics and gender, law, and public policy. An author of over 20 books, including The Beauty Bias, Women and Leadership and Moral Leadership, she is the nation’s most frequently cited scholar in legal ethics. She is the director of the Stanford Center on the Legal Profession and Founding President of the International Association of Legal...
    • Associate Professor of American History
    • Clayman Institute Faculty Research Fellow 2011-12
    Allyson Hobbs is an Associate Professor in the Department of History at Stanford University. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1997 and she received a Ph.D. with distinction from the University of Chicago in 2009. Hobbs teaches courses on African American history, African American women’s history and twentieth century American history. Her research interests include American social and cultural...
  • Tom Fenner
    • Deputy General Counsel, Stanford University
    Mr. Fenner received his B.A. degree (with distinction) from Stanford University in English in 1973 and his J.D. degree from Stanford Law School in 1976.  He joined Stanford’s Office of the General Counsel in 1985, and became Deputy General Counsel in 2001. In recent years, Mr. Fenner’s practice has focused on the academic areas of the University, including faculty, student, research and policy matters.  He served from...