The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the practice of considering race in college admissions, rejecting a white woman's challenge to a University of Texas affirmative program designed to boost the enrollment of minority students.
The court, in a 4-3 ruling written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, decided in favor of the university in turning aside the conservative challenge to the policy, meaning a 2014 appeals court ruling that backed the admissions program was left intact.
The Supreme Court was weighing for the second time a challenge to the admissions system used by the University of Texas at Austin brought by Abigail Fisher, who was denied entry to the school for the autumn of 2008.
Fisher said the university denied her admission in favor of lesser-qualified black and Hispanic applicants. She maintained that the program violated the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of equal protection under the law.
The university has disputed whether Fisher would have gained admission under any circumstances. University officials contend that having a sizable number of minorities enrolled exposes students to varied perspectives and enhances the educational experience for all students.
The high court upheld a July 2014 ruling by the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in favor of the university. That court endorsed the school's "limited use of race in its search for holistic diversity."
(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)