Supreme Court sends back Texas affirmative action plan

Abigail Noel Fisher
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The Supreme Court side-stepped a sweeping decision on the use of race-conscious school admission policies.

It ruled today on the criteria at the University of Texas and whether it violates the equal protection rights of some white applicants.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the court, says a federal appeals court needs to subject the University of Texas admission plan to the highest level of judicial scrutiny.

The justices threw the case back to the lower courts for further review.

The court affirmed the use of race in the admissions process, but makes it harder for institutions to use such policies to achieve diversity.

The 7-1 decision from the court avoids the larger constitutional issues.

Abigail Noel Fisher sued the university after her college application was rejected in 2008.

She claims it was because she is white, and that she was being treated differently than some less-qualified minority students who were accepted.

The school defends its policy of considering race as one of many factors - such as test scores, community service, leadership, and work experience - designed to create a diverse campus.