News / USA

US High Court Avoids Ruling on Key College Admissions Case

People line up in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, Jun. 24, 2013, before it opened for its last scheduled session.
People line up in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, Jun. 24, 2013, before it opened for its last scheduled session.
The U.S. Supreme Court wraps up its term this week with rulings in a number of high-profile cases including voting rights and gay marriage.

On Monday, the high court avoided a sweeping ruling in a case involving affirmative action and the University of Texas.  The court decided by a vote of 7-1 to send the case back to a lower federal court for review.

The case involves a white student applicant to the University of Texas, Abigail Fisher, who says she was denied admission because of school requirements aimed at ensuring diversity and the admission of minority students.

Civil-rights activists welcomed the decision because the high court declined to strike down the affirmative-action policy outright.  Wade Henderson is president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

“The educational benefits of diversity are clear and the court’s decision reaffirms that it is in our national interest to expand opportunities for everyone,” Henderson said.

But some conservative groups critical of government mandated affirmative action programs also reacted favorably to the decision.

National Center for Public Policy Research Executive Director David Almasi says the Supreme Court’s ruling ordering a lower court to ensure the university’s affirmative-action plan is “narrowly tailored” is encouraging.

“We should not have a large blanket that we throw across our school systems saying that you are guilty until you get a certain amount of students within your student body that meet the bean counting that is set up by a bureaucrat in the state capital or Washington, D.C.,” Almasi said.

Affirmative action programs came into vogue in the 1960’s as one way to redress decades of racial discrimination in the United States.  In 2003, the Supreme Court affirmed that race can be one of many factors considered in student admissions because a majority of the court ruled that there is a compelling interest in having a diverse student body.

The high court is scheduled to wrap up its term this week with potentially far-reaching decisions that involve voting rights and gay marriage.

The court is considering whether to strike down a key section of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most significant civil-rights laws in U.S. history.  The law requires states with a history of racial discrimination to clear any changes in voting procedures with the federal government.

The high court is also slated to announce two rulings on gay marriage that could have significant legal and political implications on that issue.  The first is a challenge to California’s Proposition 8, a voter-approved ban on same sex marriages in that state.

The second case involves the constitutionality of a federal law known as the Defense of Marriage Act that defines marriage as solely between a man and a woman.

You May Like

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs