The U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C. (Davis Staedtler / CC-BY-2.0)

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 4-3 Thursday morning that particular considerations of race in the University of Texas admissions process are constitutional.

“The principle of affirmative action for African American and Hispanic people seeking access to higher education received a boost on Thursday when the supreme court upheld a controversial programme run by the University of Texas,” The Guardian reported.

Most students are admitted to the University of Texas through a scheme that guarantees slots to Texans who graduate in the top 10% of their high school classes. But for a quarter of its intake, it considers race as one factor among many, a formula supported by the Obama administration. …

Arguments at last December’s hearing focused on whether the university can be justified in doing so and showed a clear split between conservatives and liberals.

Abigail Fisher, a white woman from Texas, claims she was deprived of a place at the university because of her race. Bert Rein, representing Fisher, argued that the “top 10%” programme is sufficient to bring in Hispanic and African American students and said the university can adopt other measures to diversify its student body without explicit reference to race.

Texas said the “top 10” programme alone is not enough and it needs the freedom to fill out incoming classes as it sees fit. Gregory Garre said on behalf of the university that minority enrollment dropped at top public universities in California and Michigan after they ended the consideration of race.

“If this court rules that the University of Texas can’t consider race, we know exactly what will happen: diversity will plummet, especially among African Americans,” Garre said. “Now is not the time and this is not the case to roll back student-body diversity in America.”

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—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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