Supreme Court, Washington, DC
The high court has reached a decision in the affirmative action case before it. Reuters

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday decided to send an affirmative action case back to a lower court for a new hearing. The court was asked to rule on the Fisher v. University of Texas case, in which Abigail Noel Fisher, who's white, alleged she was denied admission to the system's flagship in 2008 because the university's affirmative action policies resulted in the acceptance of less qualified African-American and Hispanic students.

The decision came in a 7-1 vote, with one of the nine justices recusing herself. The Supreme Court wants the lower court to rehear the case so that the “admissions process can be considered and judged under a correct analysis.” The Justices felt that the Court of Appeals didn't properly apply standards set in a prior case.

In its opinion, the Supreme Court stated that the lower court didn’t hold the university to a “demanding burden of strict scrutiny” as in the cases of Grutter and Regents of Univ. of Cal. v. Bakke. The decision then was that strict scrutiny must be applied to any admissions program using racial categories or classification, according to court documents. A university must also prove that the way in which it chooses to achieve diversity is “narrowly tailored” to its goals.

Affirmative action policies allow businesses, employers and schools to consider such factors as race, sex and national origin and color.