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Court continues to allow affirmative action in college admissions

Monday - 6/24/2013, 2:30pm  ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- For now, affirmative action in college admissions can still survive the scrutiny of the Supreme Court.

In a ruling that avoided some difficult constitutional issues, the justices said a court may approve the use of race as a factor in admissions -- but only after it concludes that "no workable race-neutral alternatives would produce the educational benefits of diversity."

The decision didn't question the underpinnings of affirmative action, which the court last reaffirmed a decade ago.

The high court ordered the federal appeals court in New Orleans to take another look at the case of Abigail Fisher. She's a white Texan who wasn't offered a spot at the University of Texas in Austin in 2008. She has since received a degree from Louisiana State.

The justices said the appeals court didn't apply the highest level of judicial scrutiny when it upheld a Texas plan that uses race as one among many factors in admitting about a quarter of the university's incoming freshmen. The school gives the bulk of the slots to Texans who are admitted based on their high school class rank, without regard to race.

%@AP Links

207-a-04-(Ben Jealous, president, NAACP, speaking softly in AP interview outside a news conference)-"the woods yet"-NAACP President Ben Jealous says he's disappointed that the Supreme Court sent the case back to a lower court. ((note audio quality)) (24 Jun 2013)

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