What SCOTUS Might Do In The Big Affirmative Action Case

Source: Sahil Kapur / Talking Points Memo

The Supreme Court is expected to rule soon — possible as early as Monday — on the constitutionality of affirmative action in an important case about the diversity-based admission policies of the University of Texas, Austin.

And some court watchers believe the justices have already tipped their hands on the outcome of the ruling, signaling that they will overturn UT’s policy on narrow grounds this year and quash the core legal basis for affirmative action in an upcoming ruling.

The pending case, Fisher v. University of Texas, is about the validity of UT’s affirmative action policy, which it uses to admit minority students who didn’t automatically qualify for admission by graduating near the top of their high school class. It was brought in 2008 by Abigail Noel Fisher, who alleged that she was unfairly denied admission to the university because she’s white.

With five justices hostile to affirmative action, it’s widely expected that UT’s race-based admission policy will be struck down. The question is whether the Supreme Court will take it a step further and also overturn Grutter v. Bollinger, the landmark 2003 ruling validating the use of race as one of many factors in the university admissions process.

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