The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a politically charged affirmative action case next week, and a lawyer who has argued 76 cases before that court predicts the justices will chip away at race-based admissions for colleges.Sidley Austin’s Carter Phillips told Business Insider the court won’t allow the University of Texas at Austin to automatically accept the top 10 per cent of students from every high school and consider race in admissions.
“I think the majority will say that adding race as an explicit factor over and above the significant diversity gains acquired under the 10 per cent plan cannot be justified under the compelling state interest test,” Phillips said in an email message.
Phillips, who’s argued more cases before the Supreme Court than any other practicing lawyer, added, “It’s not how I would decide the issue.”
The high court last ruled on affirmative action in 2003, upholding the University of Michigan Law School’s affirmative action policy because it used race as one factor in admissions and that served a “compelling interest” in creating a diverse student body.
The decision prompted the University of Texas at Austin to consider an applicant’s race as a factor in its undergraduate admissions, SCOTUSblog has reported.
But UT’s “10 per cent policy” already made its student population more diverse, according to SCOTUSblog.
Abigail Fisher, a white student who wasn’t in the top 10 per cent of her class and was denied admission to UT, filed suit alleging the university’s admission policies were unconstitutional. The Supreme Court will hear the case on Oct. 10.
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