The Lead
8:54 am
Wed October 10, 2012

The Lead: UT's Affirmative Action Policies Before Supreme Court

Good morning. This misty weather is expected to clear some, with highs warming into the mid-80s according to the Weather Channel. Here’s some of  KUT News’ top stories from this morning and yesterday evening:

The University of Texas is making the case for its affirmative action program before the Supreme Court today. Here’s a round-up of links on what’s at stake, and what to expect.

Supreme Court Set to Hear Oral Arguments on UT's Admissions Policy (Texas Tribune)

Abigail Fisher, a white student who graduated outside the top 10 percent of her high school class, was denied admission to UT-Austin in 2008. Claiming that students with lower test scores and less extracurricular involvement were admitted to UT-Austin over her because of their race, Fisher sued the university.

Now the justices will consider Fisher’s argument that UT-Austin’s admissions policy violates the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause and federal civil rights statutes because it considers race when admitting the students who are not automatically admitted in accordance with state law. The court’s decision is expected to come early next year.

The Unfinished Work of Affirmative Action (The Atlantic)

In 2008, two young women with similar academic records applied to the University of Texas at Austin for spots in the freshman class. One of the women, Abigail Fisher, was rejected. The other, Tedra Jacobs, was accepted. Fisher is white. Jacobs is black. …

"It could have been me who took her spot," says Jacobs. She is not apologetic, and neither is the university. Admitting students like Jacobs through affirmative action is part of the school's strategy to ensure that that the next generation of leaders is more representative of the nation's diversity than the last one.

High Court To Hear Biggest Race Case In Six Years (NBC Politics)

Justice Elena Kagan, a member of the court's liberal wing, will not participate in the Texas case. She served as President Barack Obama’s solicitor general in 2009 and 2010 when the Justice Department became involved in the case in the lower courts. She joined the court in August of 2010.

With Kagan out of the Texas case, a four-to-four tie is possible, which would mean that the Fifth Circuit appeals court ruling in favor of the Texas program would stand, but that no binding precedent would be set for other circuits.

As High Court Hears Affirmative Action Case, Student Voices Differ on Diversity (CNN)