SCOTUS could soon rule on affirmative action

A decision on a Texas University's affirmative action policy could come as early as this week

Topics: Affirmative Action, Texas, Supreme Court, Higher education, Michigan,

The Supreme Court could issue a ruling on affirmative action as early as Monday, after having heard arguments on a challenge to the University of Texas at Austin’s policy back in the fall of last year.

Reuters reports:

The case before the justices was brought by Abigail Fisher, a white suburban Houston student who asserted she was wrongly rejected by the University of Texas at Austin while minority students with similar grades and test scores were admitted.

The ruling is the only one the court has yet to issue following oral arguments in cases heard in October and November, the opening months of the court’s annual term which lasts until the early summer. A decision might come as early as Monday, before the start of a two-week recess.

The Court could also decide to hold off on ruling, since it will be taking up another affirmative action case, this one brought by the state of Michigan challenging a lower court decision that a ban on the policy is unconstitutional.

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As Bloomberg reported in March, when the Supreme Court elected to hear the Michigan case:

The decision to take up the Michigan case at this stage marks an unusual move for the court. Litigants on both sides had been poised for a ruling in the Texas case in the next three months. Typically, when the court is preparing to rule on an issue, it defers action on appeals that raise similar questions.

Under its normal scheduling practices, the court wouldn’t take up the Michigan case until at least October, when it starts a new, nine-month term. One possibility is that the court might hold off ruling in the Texas case and consider the two cases together in the next term.

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at jrayfield@salon.com.

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