US Supreme Court Upholds College Affirmative Action
The U.S. Supreme Court says the University of Texas can consider race when deciding which students to admit. The case was one of the most closely watched because it deals with the issue of affirmative action.
Affirmative action is a policy designed to help those who suffer from discrimination, especially regarding employment or education.
The decision has nationwide implications because other American universities use similar affirmative action policies. However, eight U.S. states do not allow race to be used when considering public college admissions. The states are Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma and Washington.
By law, the University of Texas guarantees admission to students who graduate in the top 10 percent of their high school class. But when considering applications from about 25 percent of students, the University of Texas also considers the student's race, along with other factors.
The 4-3 Supreme Court decision means the university's admissions policy can remain.
Abigail Fisher, a white woman, filed the case against the University of Texas. She said the school denied her admission based on her race.
Fisher's grades were not good enough to get her automatic admission under the top 10 percent rule. She was denied admission to the University of Texas in 2008.
When she found out that minority students with lower grades than hers were accepted, she sued the school for discrimination. The University of Texas said Fisher would not have been admitted with or without race as a factor.
The university says its race-based selection policies are necessary to maintain a diverse campus community. Fisher's attorneys argued that the top 10 percent program is enough to make sure that adequate minority students are included in the admissions process.
Justice Anthony Kennedy gave the majority opinion for the court. "The university has thus met its burden of showing that the admissions policy it used... was narrowly tailored," he wrote.
Kennedy also said that "it remains an enduring challenge to our nation's education system to reconcile the pursuit of diversity with the constitutional promise of equal treatment and dignity."
Three other judges - Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Samuel Alito and Justice Clarence Thomas – disagreed.
Alito said he thought the decision was an example of "affirmative action gone berserk." He said he felt the university had relied "on a series of unsupported and noxious racial assumptions."
In a separate dissent, Thomas expressed his view that the U.S. Constitution makes it illegal to use race as part of the admissions process in higher education.
U.S. President Barack Obama praised the Supreme Court's decision for upholding "the basic notion that diversity is an important value in our society, and that this country should provide a high quality education to all our young people, regardless of their background."
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1.The case was one of the most closely watched because it deals with the issue of affirmative action.
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2.Affirmative action is a policy designed to help those who suffer from discrimination, especially regarding employment or education.
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美国最高法院宣布，得克萨斯大学在录取学生时可以考虑种族因素 。该案因涉及平权法案成为最受瞩目的案件之一 。
美国所有大学都采取相同的平权法案政策，因此这一裁决的影响范围之大 。然而，美国仍有8个州禁止公立大学招生时考虑种族因素 。分别为亚利桑那州、加利福尼亚州、佛罗里达州、密歇根州、内布拉斯加州、新罕布什尔州、俄克拉荷马州和华盛顿州 。
根据法律规定，得克萨斯大学会录取成绩在前10%的高中毕业生 。但录取成绩在25%左右的毕业生申请时，会考虑该学生的种族及其它因素 。
对得克萨斯大学提告的是一位名叫阿比盖尔·费舍尔（Abigail Fisher）的白人女性 。她声称该校因其种族将她拒之门外 。
费舍尔的成绩达不到可直接录取的前10%的标准 。2008年，她未能被得克萨斯大学录取 。
当发现成绩低于她的少数族裔学生都被录取时，她以歧视罪名将该校告上法庭 。得克萨斯大学表示：即使不存在种族因素，费舍尔也不会被录取 。
学校方面表示，该校以种族为基础的遴选政策是维持校园社区多样化的必要之举 。费舍尔的律师辩称，前10%的录取政策足以确保大部分少数族裔学生被录取 。
大法官安东尼·肯尼迪支持多数派意见 。他表示，“该大学已履行的职责表明其所采用的招生政策是经过周全考虑的 。”
首席大法官约翰·罗伯茨（John Roberts），大法官塞缪尔·阿利托（Samuel Alito）以及克拉伦斯·托马斯（Clarence Thomas）三名法官对此持有不同见解 。
阿利托认为这一裁决是“平权法案偏离正轨”的案例 。他表示该大学一直依赖一些未经证实和有害的种族假设 。