Supreme Court Divided Over Affirmative Action in College Admissions
The Supreme Court seemed deeply divided Wednesday over the future of affirmative action in college admissions, with liberals defending a university’s right to assemble racially diverse student bodies, and conservatives worrying about the constitutional rights of those who are denied admission because of their race.
As expected, the justice who emerged as most likely to decide the issue was Justice Anthony M. Kennedy. The veteran justice has never approved of an affirmative action plan that has come before the court but has agreed that campus diversity is the kind of compelling government interest that can sometimes license the use of race in admission decisions.
The case comes from the University of Texas at Austin, which draws about 75 percent of its freshman class based on their graduation rankings from Texas high schools. For the remaining students, it uses a “holistic” evaluation that includes race as one of many factors.
A white applicant named Abigail Fisher says those attempts to boost the number of African American and Hispanic students cost her a spot in the freshman class of 2008.