News Column

SCOTUS Sends Back Race Preference Case

June 24, 2013
supreme court

The US Supreme Court Monday sent back to a lower court for further consideration a key case on the use of racial preferences in university admissions, a decision that could reshape decades-long policies against discrimination.

The highest US court threw out a decision by the lower Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, saying that the lower court had not sufficiently applied rules to consider race in university admissions. The Supreme Court had laid out those rules in previous rulings.

The 7-1 decision would have the lower court reconsider the matter, leaving undecided many of the key issues raised by the case.

The lower court had ruled in favour of the University of Texas after Abigail Fisher, a white student, sued over claims she was rejected for admission because of her race.

At stake is a decades-old practice by US universities to take into account not just grades but race in their admissions. This policy to promote access for minority students, known as affirmative action, has been controversial since its inception by many institutions starting in the 1970s.

Affirmative action was devised to correct past racism and institutional discrimination against blacks and other minorities. More recently, the policies have been promoted as a means to ensure racial and social diversity in universities and sometimes in hiring.

Source: Copyright 2013 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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