On affirmative action, can race be used to support diversity on public and private college/university campuses.
Fisher v. U. of Texas Austin. Abigail Fisher claims she was denied admission over less qualified minority applicants. The University claims its policy is in conformity with the law.
Public opinion on this issue is sharply divided based on race.
Anyone expecting a clear up or down decision will be disappointed. As they often do, they kicked the can down the road by sending the case back to the lower courts with the instruction to apply the so-called "strict scrutiny" standard.
What is that? Here's Wikipedia's take:
It must be justified by a compelling governmental interest. While the Courts have never brightly defined how to determine if an interest is compelling, the concept generally refers to something necessary or crucial, as opposed to something merely preferred. Examples include national security, preserving the lives of multiple individuals, and not violating explicit constitutional protections.
The law or policy must be narrowly tailored to achieve that goal or interest. If the government action encompasses too much (overbroad) or fails to address essential aspects of the compelling interest, then the rule is not considered narrowly tailored.
The law or policy must be the least restrictive means for achieving that interest, that is, there cannot be a less restrictive way to effectively achieve the compelling government interest. The test will be met even if there is another method that is equally the least restrictive. Some legal scholars consider this "least restrictive means" requirement part of being narrowly tailored, though the Court generally evaluates it separately.
It sounds to me like this ruling will make it harder for universities to use race alone as a basis for promoting racial diversity. They'll have to prove they've tried every other way of doing so first.