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Courtesy of Joe Gratz/Creative Commons

The Supreme Court upheld affirmative action at the University of Texas at Austin on Thursday, NBC News reported.

Abigail Fisher, a white woman who was denied admission to the school, brought the case against UT Austin in 2008. Fisher claimed that the school’s assertion that students learn better on a campus with diversity was too vague a standard to justify using race as a factor in admissions.

Seven of the eight justices voted 4-3 in favor of UT Austin. Justice Elena Kagan recused herself because she had previously worked on the case as United States solicitor general. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote the majority opinion. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor joined him, and Chief Justice John G. Roberts J. and Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. dissented.

Because the ruling is specific to UT Austin’s admissions policies, it’s not clear how universal this ruling will be, or how many schools it will apply to.

In 2003, the Supreme Court said it was acceptable to factor in race as one component among many to achieve educational diversity in Grutter v. Bollinger. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor wrote in the majority opinion that she expected “25 years from now,” the “use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary.”

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