Volume 71, Number 6

December 1996

Hopwood v. Texas: A Backward Look at Affirmative Action in Education

Laura C. Scanlan

In 1992 the University of Texas Law School (Law School) rejected the applications of Cheryl Hopwood, Douglas Carvell, Kenneth Elliott, and David Rogers. These four applicants, who are white, subsequently filed suit against the State of Texas and the University of Texas, alleging that both the State and the Law School discriminated against them by using an affirmative action admissions process that placed black and Mexican American applicants in a separate admissions pool and consequently accepted members of those groups over nonminority students who had comparable grades and test scores. The plaintiffs argued that any use of race in the admissions process unconstitutionally infringed on their Fourteenth Amendment right to equal protection.