NewsNation | October 10, 2012
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>>> affirmative action took center stage at the supreme court . it is the first time the issue argued before the court since 2003 . the national action network rallied outside the court this morning voicing support for affirmative action . the case challenges the use of race as a factor in college admissions . it could lead to new limits on affirmative action at universities or eliminate the practice completely. joining me is a professor. first of all, we say we have not seen this in court since 2003 . many people didn't think we'd see it now.
>> that's right. in 2003 , the court rendered a very controversial and stable 5-4 decision saying that affirmative action would be permissive. justice o'connor said it was the case for 25 years and wasn't binding. my judge used to say this is not 25 years and like a biblical 40. like a generation. many of us didn't think we'd revisit this so soon. i think we are because the personnel of the court changed and tilted 0 the right and they want to have at this case.
>> before we get to what some of the justices said today, particularly justice kennedy , at the heart of this is a white student at the university of texas . they have a policy in the top 10% of the class you're accepted to their university and she and perhaps others believe their entry in to the university's affected by this procedure.
>> that's right. but to be clear, tamron, the top 10% filled the three quarters of the case. she is not in the top 10% of the class and what's at issue is remainder of the class allows the university to use race as a plus factor. not as a quo that but a plus factor. she believes she would have gotten in but for that analysis and therefore that's why she's bringing the suit.
>> justice kennedy 's comments stood out to you. why?
>> well, he's never upheld affirmative action program so on the one hand, you know, that makes him very questionable as a vote for the university of texas affirmative action program. on the other hand, he's upheld -- he's sometimes saying a conceivable program and hasn't found it yet so all eyes are directed toward him as a swing vote in this case.
>> let's play what the university of texas president bill powers said outside of the court after arguments today. let's play it.
>> we believe the educational benefit of diversity are so important that they're worth fighting for all the way to the united states supreme court . our lawyers this morning effectively made the case to the justices that diversity, ethnic and otherwise, benefits all of the students on our campus.
>> bill, has that not been proven in workplaces?
>> absolutely. a business case for diversity spread like wildfire. mckenzie and other consulting firms shows that it helps the bottom lean for corporations and actually corporations and military and other organizations said, do not dry up the pipeline to the universities so they're actually in great support of race-based affirmative action .
>> all right. thank you so much. we greatly appreciate your time. we'll see what happens as this moving forward. thank you so much.