POSTED: Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 9:00am
UPDATED: Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 9:00am
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — An affirmative action case before the Supreme Court could impact who gets accepted to college and where.
The court is considering whether the University of Texas should be allowed use a students race as a factor during admissions after a white Texan sued the university saying she was denied admittance because of her race.
Right now universities can use race in a limited way to obtain diversity during admissions.
The fairness of the policy is in question...exactly how you measure it and determine when diversity has been reached and the policy is no longer needed?
The case drew dozens of people supporting affirmative action to the steps of the Supreme Court.
"Racial inclusion is the key to racial justice," Rev. Jesse Jackson told the crowd.
The University of Texas is defending its use of race as one factor, among others, used to admit a small portion of students outside of the state's top 10 percent academically.
Abigail Fisher isn't a minority.
She's white, and she says her race prevented her from getting accepted.
She's suing the university.
"The absence of equal protection was a sin in this country for a long, long time and we're simply trying to say those rights belong to everybody," Bert Rein, Fisher's attorney, said after arguments.
In court, Justices Kennedy, Roberts and Alito questioned what standard the university used to measure diversity.
Alito asked whether the policy had any real benefit.
Justice Sotomayor asked what damages Fisher had suffered by not getting into the university.
Just nine years ago the Supreme Court ruled in favor of affirmative action.
Now, they're reconsidering, and the result could impact how much race can play into university admissions nationwide.
The justices will likely make a decision on the case in the spring.
Justice Kagan is not participating because she worked on the case while at the Justice Department.
That means a decision in Fisher's favor will require a 5-3 decision.