Court punts but affirmative action on the ropes

(USAToday) The Supreme Court, by a 7-1 vote, correctly slapped down the lower court for deferring to the University of Texas regarding the use of race in college admissions. It punted, however, on the larger question of whether that use of race is constitutional, instead instructing the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit to reconsider the issue under a less deferential standard of review.

That is, the lower court accepted the Supreme Court's 2003 ruling that using race as one factor, but not if race is tied to a set number of points or quotas, could be justified in the name of diversity. But it erred, the Supreme Court said, in not subjecting UT-Austin's admissions process to what lawyers call "strict scrutiny."

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