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

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid