POLITICS
10/10/2012 09:39 am ET

Supreme Court Considers Affirmative Action Case

By MARK SHERMAN, ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court is taking up a challenge to a University of Texas program that considers race in some college admissions. The case could produce new limits on affirmative action at universities, or roll it back entirely.

Abigail Fisher, the white Texan who sued the university, arrived at the high court Wednesday morning to hear the argument.

Hundreds of people also wanting seats in the courtroom waited in line on the court plaza on a gorgeous fall morning. The Rev. Jesse Jackson, a supporter of affirmative action, was among advocates on both sides of the issue who gathered outside the court.

The university says the program that fills roughly a quarter of its incoming classes uses race among many factors and argues that it is necessary to provide the kind of diverse educational experience the high court has previously endorsed. The rest of its slots go to students who are admitted based on their class rank, without regard to race.

Opponents of the program say the university is practicing illegal discrimination by considering race at all.

Justice Elena Kagan is not taking part, probably because she worked on the case at the Justice Department.

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