The Supreme Court upheld affirmative action in college admissions on Monday, but the narrow focus of the decision imposes a tougher legal standard for public universities to follow.
The court ruled in a 7-1 vote, with one justice abstaining, that schools must show there are “no workable race-neutral alternatives” available to ensure campus diversity. The court sent the case, which was brought by a white female applicant to the University of Texas who was denied admission, back to a lower court for review.
“Affirmative action survives but the court imposes a stricter test that the federal courts are to use in evaluating affirmative action programs,” said NBC News Justice Correspondent Pete Williams. “Now, this is not the final word on affirmative action because the court has already granted a case that will be argued next year on whether states can go to the polls and ban affirmative action in their states.”