Supreme Court sends affirmative action case back to lower courts

by
June 25, 2013

The Supreme Court on Monday sent a major affirmative action case back to the lower courts to be reheard, ducking the chance to rewrite discrimination laws and instead affirming the current state of law for racial preferences, saying they can be used for admissions but only if there is a compelling need and no other remedy works.

Some legal analysts had predicted the court would use the case from the University of Texas at Austin to issue a broad ruling that would overturn affirmative action policies, but the 7-1 ruling was narrow in scope and didn’t overturn any current laws or court precedents.

Both sides in the affirmative action debate claimed victory, with supporters of preferences saying the court reaffirmed their use while opponents said sending the case back to be reheard under stricter standards shows the justices are leaning toward ending special treatment.

“I am grateful to the justices for moving the nation closer to the day when a student’s race isn’t used at all in college admissions,” said Abigail Fisher, the plaintiff who brought the challenge to Texas’ policy.

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