POSTED: Monday, June 24, 2013 - 9:50am
UPDATED: Monday, June 24, 2013 - 4:02pm
The Supreme Court imposed a stricter test for affirmative action in college admissions, while allowing it to survive.
The court ruled that schools must prove that, "No workable race neutral alternatives" exist to achieve diversity on campus.
In a 7 to 1 vote, the Justices sent a case about admissions policies at the University of Texas back to a lower federal appeals court for review.
NBC News Justice experts equated the move to the Supreme Court's equivalent of a grade of "incomplete."
The court ruled the lower court had not held the university to what they call a "demanding burden of strict scrutiny."
The case was originally brought by Abigail Fisher, a white woman who was denied admission to the University of Texas in 2008.
She claimed her constitutional rights and civil rights law were violated.
The university admits about three quarters of its students by guaranteeing a spot to any student finished near the top of his or her high school class.
When Fisher applied, the standard was the top 10% of the class, for the rest of undergraduate admissions, race is considered as one of the many factors.
Justice Elena Kagan recused herself from the case. She had worked on the issue while she was Solicitor General under President Obama.