Supreme Court Rules on Affirmative Action Case

By: Andy Alcock

The hot button issue of race is at the center of a new U.S. Supreme Court decision.

On Monday, the high court issued an opinion on a university admissions case.

Abigail Fisher wanted to be a student at the University of Texas.

She claims attempts to boost minority student numbers, or affirmative action, cost her a spot in the class of 2008 because she's white.

The case went to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"I hope the high court rules that a student's race and ethnicity should not be considered when applying to the University of Texas," said Fisher.

"The Supreme Court punted on the issue of whether or not affirmative action is constitutional," said Florida State law professor Franita Tolson.

Instead in a 7-1 vote, the high court sent the case back to the lower court.

Tolson points out there was no trial in the Fisher case.

She says once there is one, it's possible the case could go back to the Supreme Court.

She says the ruling did make it more difficult for states to use race as a factor for university admissions.

"I do think that within 25 years, affirmative action will probably be off the table and schools will have to look for other ways in order to further a goal in diversity," said Tolson.

That change has already taken place at Florida universities like FSU.

In 1999, then Governor Jeb Bush put the "One Florida" initiative in place.

For state institutions like FSU, "admissions criteria must not include preferences for applicants on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability or sex."

A spokeswoman for the Florida Board of Governors says the state's universities instead pursue under-represented groups in other ways.

They include first-generation college recruitment, special programs and scholarships.


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