A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed the constitutionality of the University of Texas at Austin’s consideration of race in its admissions process in 2008 — the year two white applicants denied admission allege racial considerations disadvantaged them.

According to the 5th Circuit’s Jan. 18 opinion in Fisher, et al. v. University of Texas, et al. ,appellants Abigail Fisher and Rachel Michalewicz contended that “UT revealed its true motive to be outright racial balancing when it referenced state population data to justify the adoption of race-conscious admissions measures. They insist that if UT were truly focused on educational benefits and critical mass, then there should be no reason to consult demographic data when determining whether UT had sufficient minority representation. We disagree,” wrote Senior Judge Patrick E. Higginbotham.