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A court says the University of Texas at Austin can consider race as an admissions factor. With college admission so competitive, are they right?
The affirmative action debate is back in the hot seat after the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans upheld the use of race as an admissions factor at the University of Texas at Austin.
Judge Patrick E. Higgenbotham wrote in the majority opinion that affirmative action is not unconstitutional and does not conflict with Texas' current policy of accepting all students in the top 10 percent of their high school classes into the state's public universities. In an ironic twist, this same federal appeals court banned the University of Texas in 1996 from using race as an admissions factor.
The current ruling upholds a 2008 lower-court decision that the University of Texas didn't violate the civil rights or constitutional right to equal protection of two white students, Abigail Fisher and Rachel Michalewicz, who were denied admission to U.T. Austin that year. The two women could have attended a less prestigious campus in the U.T. system and possibly transferred to Austin in their second year if they met the requirements to do so. Instead, they chose to sue.