AUSTIN, Texas - The Supreme Court issued a decision that casts doubt on the future of affirmative action in higher education Monday.
In a 7-1 ruling, the University of Texas - Austin case has been sent back to a lower court and will face a tougher time defending how it uses race in its admissions process.
The justices ordered university officials be held to a stricter legal standard in proving there were no factors other than race that could be used to build a more diverse student body.
Vanderbilt Univ. School of Law's Suzanna Sherry said, "The court is making sure that courts will scrutinize affirmative action programs more carefully."
Supreme Court expert Tom Goldstein said, "If they show us that they really do need these programs, no race-neutral way of getting diversity in higher education, then for now at least, programs are Constitutional and you can use them."
Justice Elena Kagan recused herself from the case and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg was the lone dissenter.
Even though Monday was scheduled to be the last decision day of this term, the court still has three major, potentially landmark decisions.
They include two same sex marriage cases and one challenging the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
Rulings on all of these cases could come as early as Tuesday.