Today's starter topic: The Supreme Court has agreed to hear another case on an important issue: racial and gender quotas often known as "affirmative action." This is one of several big issues before the court:
The Supreme Court set an election-season review of racial preference in college admissions, agreeing Tuesday to consider new limits on the contentious issue of affirmative-action programs.
A challenge from a white student who was denied admission to the University of Texas flagship campus will be the court's first look at affirmative action in higher education since its 2003 decision endorsing the use of race as a factor.
This time, a more conservative court could jettison the earlier ruling or at least limit when colleges may take account of race in admissions.
In a court term already filled with the subjects of health care, immigration, and legislative redistricting, the justices won't hear the affirmative-action case, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, until the fall.
But the political calendar will still add drama. Arguments probably will take place in the final days of the presidential election campaign.[...]
A federal appeals court upheld the Texas program at issue, saying it was allowed under the justices' 2003 decision in Grutter v. Bollinger that upheld racial considerations in university admissions at the University of Michigan Law School.
But the Supreme Court has changed since then. For one thing, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. appears more hostile to affirmative action than his predecessor, Sandra Day O'Connor. For another, Justice Elena Kagan, who might be expected to vote with the liberal-leaning justices in support of it, is not taking part in the Texas case.
The ruling isn't expected to come until after the election but this puts another issue that is unpopular for the left onto the forefront of the political issue agenda.