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University of Texas Has Supreme Court at Odds Over Affirmative Action
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diversity at University of Texas

Summary: An affirmative action policy at the University of Texas may get the cut if the U.S. Supreme Court determines that diversity is gained without it.

For the second time in just as many years, the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing arguments over the race-based admission policy in place at the University of Texas and other public universities. Affirmative action policies have been fought long and hard across the country has experts try to determine what importance diversity places in an educational setting.


The conservative justices such as Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. want affirmative action in admissions removed since it is unnecessary and unconstitutional. As Roberts asked a university lawyer, “What unique perspective does a minority student bring to a physics class?” Affirmative action was used as a “temporary” measure to increase at the university but as Roberts once again pointed out, “When do you think your program will be done?”

The liberal justices such as Justice Sonia Sotomayor are fighting in defense of the policy, stating her own benefit from the policy when she was admitted to Princeton University.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy will most likely be the deciding vote in the matter. He expressed frustration that the university lawyers were unable to quantify the role race plays in shaping which students are admitted. The argument was the same one the court heard two years ago when they sent it back to a lower court to rule.

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Texas has a state law that guarantees admission to the top 10 percent from each high school in the state. This guarantee is based solely on grades. This makes up roughly 75 percent of the admissions to the Austin campus with one-third being Latino or African American for the past few years. The argument has arisen over a supplemental program that accounts for the remaining 25 percent of admissions.

With no clear decision apparent after Wednesday’s latest arguments, Kennedy hinted that he might be in favor of sending the case back for a third time to a lower court.




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