Appeals court: Texas can use race in admissions - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Appeals court: Texas can use race in admissions

Posted: Updated:
  • NationalMore>>

  • War College to investigate plagiarism allegations

    War College to investigate plagiarism allegations

    Thursday, July 24 2014 9:25 PM EDT2014-07-25 01:25:19 GMT
    Sen. John Walsh said his unattributed use of others' work in his master's thesis was not plagiarism but "a few citations that were unintentionally left out of a term paper" that he blamed in part on...
    Sen. John Walsh remained steadfast Thursday amid an investigation into whether he plagiarized a research project required for a master's degree, winning fresh backing from fellow Democrats in Montana and the governor...
  • Man says he shot burglar who said she was pregnant

    Man says he shot burglar who said she was pregnant

    Thursday, July 24 2014 9:24 PM EDT2014-07-25 01:24:58 GMT
    An 80-year-old man says he shot and killed a fleeing woman whom he had caught burglarizing his home, despite her plea that she was pregnant.
    Police said Thursday they're deciding whether to arrest an 80-year-old man who shot a fleeing, unarmed burglar despite her telling him she was pregnant, but they have arrested the woman's accomplice on suspicion of...
  • As inmate died, lawyers debated if he was in pain

    As inmate died, lawyers debated if he was in pain

    Thursday, July 24 2014 9:06 PM EDT2014-07-25 01:06:04 GMT
    A condemned murderer took nearly two hours to die and gasped for about 90 minutes during an execution in Arizona that quickly rekindled the national debate on capital punishment in the U.S.
    The nearly two-hour execution of a convicted murderer prompted a series of phone calls involving the governor's office, the prison director, lawyers and judges as the inmate gasped for more than 90 minutes.
By WILL WEISSERT and PAUL J. WEBER
Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - A federal appeals court panel ruled Tuesday that the University of Texas can continue using race as a factor in undergraduate admissions as a way of promoting diversity on campus, the latest in an ongoing case that made it to the U.S. Supreme Court last year only to be sent back to lower courts for further review.

In a 2-1 ruling, judges from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that barring the university from using race would ultimately lead to a less diverse student body in defiance of previous legal precedent that promoting diversity was an important part of education.

"We are persuaded that to deny UT Austin its limited use of race in its search for holistic diversity would hobble the richness of the educational experience," the opinion stated.

The case began in 2008 when Abigail Fisher, who is white, was denied admission to the University of Texas's flagship Austin campus because she did not graduate in the top 10 percent of her high school class - the criterion for 75 percent of the school's admissions. The university also passed her over for a position among the remaining 25 percent, which is reserved for special scholarships and people who meet a formula for personal achievement that includes race as a factor.

The case went to the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2013. But rather than issue a landmark decision on affirmative action, it voted 7-1 to tell a lower appeals court to take another look at Fisher's lawsuit. That meant the university's admissions policies remained unchanged.

In November, the New Orleans-based 5th Circuit held a rare hearing in Austin where it again listened to arguments on both sides of the case.

University of Texas President Bill Powers called it "a great day for higher education nationwide."

"As a teacher and as president of this university I know the value of diversity of all kinds," Powers said at a news conference. "And our state and our nation won't advance unless we're training leaders in all parts of our society."

Between 2000 and 2010, Texas' population increased by more than 4 million with minorities, especially Hispanics, accounting for nearly nine out every 10 new residents, according to census figures.

The University of Texas has become more-diverse - but much more slowly. It's percentage of white students declined from 53.5 percent in 2009 to 47.7 percent last fall. The percentage of Hispanic students increased from 18.5 percent to 21.7 percent over the same period, but lags the 38.4 percent of the Texas population which is Hispanic. Black student enrollment has declined slightly since 2009 and was 4.3 percent last year, compared with 12.4 percent of the Texas population who are black.

Edward Blum, one of the attorneys representing Fisher, called the ruling "disappointing but not unexpected." He said the legal team could next appeal to the full 5th U.S. Circuit, or directly back to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"I think we need a little more time to more carefully study the opinion and weight the pluses and minuses of both avenues," Blum said by phone.

Fisher said in a statement that she too was disappointed "that the judges hearing my case are not following the Supreme Court's ruling last summer."

"I remain committed to continuing this lawsuit even if it means we appeal to the Supreme Court once again," she added.

The NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund was among the groups that helped argue in favor of the University of Texas and its admissions policies. It called the ruling a victory but conceded that the disputes over affirmative action are not over.

"It's going to be a conversation that we need to continue and a difficult one," said Janai Nelson, associate director counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. "But what this decision emphasizes is that there are ways in which we can use race in a positive and progressive manner."

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • InternationalMore>>

  • UN school in Gaza caught in cross-fire; 15 killed

    UN school in Gaza caught in cross-fire; 15 killed

    Thursday, July 24 2014 9:14 PM EDT2014-07-25 01:14:57 GMT
    Israeli tanks and warplanes are pummeling the Gaza Strip as U.S. and other diplomats push for a cease-fire with Hamas militants.
    A U.N. school in Gaza crowded with hundreds of Palestinians seeking refuge from fierce fighting came under fire Thursday, killing at least 15 civilians and leaving a sad tableau of blood-spattered pillows, blankets and...
  • Ex-Venezuelan intelligence chief detained in Aruba

    Ex-Venezuelan intelligence chief detained in Aruba

    Thursday, July 24 2014 8:06 PM EDT2014-07-25 00:06:27 GMT
    Authorities in Aruba say they have detained a former Venezuelan intelligence official on a request from the U.S. government.
    Authorities in Aruba announced Thursday that they arrested a close confidant of late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez who was sent as that country's consul to the Caribbean island despite being sanctioned by the U.S....
  • Planes with Ukraine bodies arrive in Netherlands

    Planes with Ukraine bodies arrive in Netherlands

    Thursday, July 24 2014 7:55 PM EDT2014-07-24 23:55:03 GMT
    Ukraine's government says 51 containers holding bodies and body parts of victims of the Malaysia Airlines crash are ready to depart for the Netherlands aboard two military transport planes.
    Two more military aircraft carrying remains of victims from the Malaysian plane disaster arrived in the Netherlands on Thursday, while Australian and Dutch diplomats joined to promote a plan for a U.N. team to secure the...