Nightly News | October 10, 2012
>>> and the supreme court today takes on a question of race, and the question, has affirmative action run its course? the justice department is looking into the case, deciding whether or not they can take racial background into account as colleges decide who to admit. our justice correspondent, pete williams with more.
>> reporter: brian, 30 years ago, in a case called bachi, the supreme court said that a college can take a person's race into account when providing admissions, because it provides better diversity. now the question seems to be, how much diversity is enough? like nearly all american colleges , the university of texas at austin tries for racial diversity, but the way they did it was tried by a senior, abby fisher.
>> the race should not be considered.
>> reporter: she says that affirmative action kept her out.
>> there were people with lower grades who were not -- the only difference between us was the color of our skin.
>> reporter: she says the state law that guarantees the top 10% of graduates makes the university racially diverse enough. 29% hispanic, 6% black. but the university says that considering race is one factor in making sure they admit enough with diversity.
>> what is important is that they have the ability to see that not all are the same, regardless of their economic background.
>> reporter: the supreme court ruled nine years ago that they can consider race to get a critical mass of students. a decision written by sandra day o'connor. today, they seemed to find it too vague? what is the local end? just scalia, does it vary from state to state? the lawyer from the university of texas says the school looks at all of the student's accomplishments. we want minorities from different backgrounds, he said. but that prompted justice kennedy , likely the critical vote, so what you're saying is that race accounts above all. opponents of the affirmative action hope they strike it down, judging from the arguments today, they will scale it back possibly.
>> pete williams for us tonight, in washington, thank you.