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Supreme Court Upholds University of Texas Affirmative Action Plan

Scott Kushner

Supreme Court says plan taking race into consideration as one factor of admission is constitutional

Affirmative Action is leading the news and winning the day.

The Supreme Court’s 4-3 ruling upheld the University of Texas’ ability to use race as a factor when considering applicants, as a way to build a diverse student body.

While the ruling wouldn’t have affected government contractors and private companies even if overturned, the nation’s highest court advocating for the continued existence of Affirmative Action lends credence to the staying power and importance of the program.

“A university is in large part defined by those intangible qualities which are incapable of objective measurement but which make for greatness,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in his 20-page majority opinion. “Considerable deference is owed to a university in defining those intangible characteristics, like student body diversity, that are central to its identity and educational mission.

“But still, it remains an enduring challenge to our Nation’s education system to reconcile the pursuit of diversity with the constitutional promise of equal treatment and dignity.”

This was the second time the case had been considered by the Supreme Court. In 2013, it was kicked down to lower courts for further assessment. It was originally brought to trial by then-prospective student Abigail Fisher in 2008, when she pinned Affirmative Action

Justice Elena Kagan recused herself due to working on the case while employed as President Obama’s solicitor general.

The case upholds its own 2003 Grutter v. Bollinger decision, when the court said it was lawful to consider race as one admissions factor in order to achieve educational diversity at a university.

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