DETROIT In a case that may wind up before the Supreme Court, a federal judge Wednesday upheld the University of Michigan's use of affirmative action in admissions, saying there is "solid evidence" that a racially diverse campus is good for education.
"Hopefully, there may come a day when universities are able to achieve the desired diversity without resort to racial preferences," U.S. District Judge Patrick Duggan said in affirming undergraduate admissions standards that have been in place since last year.
The case is being closely watched across the country because many colleges and universities consider race and ethnicity in admissions. A Supreme Court ruling against Michigan could jeopardize those practices at public schools.
There was no immediate word on whether the two white students who sued after they were denied admission will appeal.
"We continue to believe that public universities have no right under the equal protection clause to engineer a particular racial mix of students," said Terence Pell, chief executive of the Center for Individual Rights, which represents the white students. The conservative Washington legal group brought down affirmative action at the University of Texas law school in 1996 and is behind two lawsuits targeting Michigan's policies.