On September 29, 1992, plaintiffs, white law school applicants denied admission to the University of Texas Law School, filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. §1983 and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, against the State of Texas, the Board of Regents of the Texas State University System, the Law School, and a number of individuals in their official capacities in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, Austin Division (Judge Sam Sparks). The plaintiffs, represented by the Center for Individual Rights, asked the Court for injunctive and declaratory relief, as well as compensatory and punitive damages. Specifically, the plaintiffs contended that the defendants discriminated against them by favoring less qualified black and Mexican American applicants for admission to the University of Texas School of Law through the use of a quota system.
On October 28, 1993, the Court (Judge Sam Sparks), denied defendants' motions for summary judgment for lack of standing and ripeness and for one plaintiff's failure to maintain eligibility for admission.
A bench trial began on May 18, 1994. On August 19, 1994, the Court (Judge Sam Sparks) held that the 1992 admissions procedure violated the Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Hopwood v. Texas, 861 F. Supp. 551; 1994 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11870 (W.D. TX. August 19, 1994). The court ordered that:
(1) the plaintiffs could reapply and be considered for admission to the law school for the 1995-96 school year without assessment of fees; (2) plaintiffs receive damages in the amount of one dollar each; (3) all further affirmative relief requested by any party herein against any other party was denied including a motion by certain other individuals to intervene. (Docket No. 94-50569.)
On September 19, 1994, plaintiffs appealed to the United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit. On March 18, 1996, the Fifth Circuit (Judge Jeremy E. Smith), dismissed the intervenors' appeal for want of jurisdiction, reversed the judgment as to the initial plaintiffs, and remanded for further proceedings. Hopwood v. Texas, 78 F.3d 932; 1996 U.S. App. LEXIS 4719 (5th Cir. 1996). The Fifth Circuit held that the University of Texas School of Law may not use race as a factor in determining admissions. The Court held that the plaintiffs had satisfied their burden of showing that they were scrutinized under an unconstitutional admissions system. The Fifth Circuit agreed that the plaintiffs were entitled to reapply, and directed the district court to reconsider the question of damages.
On June 24, 1996, the United States Supreme Court, granted petitioners' motion to consolidate their case with Thurgood Marshall Legal v. Hopwood, 116 S. Ct. 2580, 135 L.Ed. 2d 1094. Texas v. Hopwood, 518 U.S. 1016; 116 S. Ct. 2545 (1996).
On July 26, 1996, the Fifth Circuit, vacated the District Court opinion. Hopwood v. Texas, 95 F.3d 53; 1996 U.S. App. LEXIS 22891 (5th Cir. 1996).
On March 20, 1998, on rehearing, the Court (Judge Sparks) entered judgment in favor of the plaintiffs, and ordering damages in the amount of one dollar ($1.00) each, and enjoining Defendants from considering race in the admission process. The Court awarded plaintiffs $703,992 in attorneys' fees and $571,768 in costs. Hopwood v. Texas, 999 F. Supp. 872 (W.D. TX 1998).
On December 21, 2000, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit made findings on the District Court's decision on remand. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the District Court finding that Texas had proved that the Plaintiffs would have had no reasonable chance of being offered admission to the Law School in 1992 under a constitutionally valid, race-blind admissions system. Further, the Court of Appeals found that the District Court failed to comply with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 52(a) when it failed to provide findings of fact and conclusions of law to justify its injunction prohibiting absolutely the use of race as a factor in the admissions process. The Fifth Circuit reversed the court's grant of the injunction and remanded for further proceedings but affirmed the district court's rulings on attorneys' fees and costs. Hopwood v. Texas, 236 F.3d 256 (5th Cir. 2000.)
On January 17, 2001, the United States Court of Appeal for the Fifth Circuit denied the petition for Panel Rehearing. Hopwood v. Texas, 248 F.3d 1141 (5th Cir. 2001).
On June 24, 2001, the United States Supreme Court (Judge William Rehnquist) denied the petition for certiorari. Hopwood v. Texas, 533 U.S. 929 (2001). On July 24, 2001, the District Court closed the file, finding no viable issues remaining to be litigated. Hopwood v. Texas, 2001 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10658 (W.D. TX 2001).Stacey McClurkin - 09/29/2011