AUSTIN, Texas – A federal appeals court panel ruled Tuesday that the University of Texas can continue using race as a factor in undergraduate admissions as a way of promoting diversity on campus, the latest in an ongoing case that made it to the U.S. Supreme Court last year only to be sent back to lower courts for further review.
In a 2-1 ruling, judges from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that barring the university from using race would ultimately lead to a less diverse student body in defiance of previous legal precedent that promoting diversity was an important part of education.
“We are persuaded that to deny UT Austin its limited use of race in its search for holistic diversity would hobble the richness of the educational experience,” the opinion stated.
The case began in 2008 when Abigail Fisher, who is white, was denied admission to the University of Texas’s flagship Austin campus because she did not graduate in the top 10 percent of her high school class – the criterion for 75 percent of the school’s admissions. The university also passed her over for a position among the remaining 25 percent, which is reserved for special scholarships and people who meet a formula for personal achievement that includes race as a factor.
Ex-attorneys general accused of bribery
SALT LAKE CITY – Two former Utah attorneys general were arrested on an array of bribery charges Tuesday stemming from cozy relationships with several businessmen.
John Swallow, 51, and Mark Shurtleff, 56, were arrested at their homes Tuesday morning, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said at a news conference at the FBI office in Salt Lake City in which he detailed payoffs involving gold coins, swanky resorts and other luxury gifts.
Court records show John Swallow faces 13 charges, including felony bribery charges, while Shurtleff faces 10 counts that include bribery. The most serious charges for each man come with a maximum penalty of 15 years in state prison.
Gill said the investigation is ongoing and additional charges will likely be filed against both men and others.
Both Swallow and Shurtleff deny the charges.
Navy nurse won’t force-feed prisoners
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – A U.S. Navy nurse has refused to force-feed prisoners who are on an extended hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay, the first protest of its kind at the detention center, a rights lawyer and U.S. official said Tuesday.
The unidentified nurse declined to participate after deciding the practice is a criminal act, said Cori Crider, an attorney for the British legal rights group Reprieve who spoke in a phone interview from London.
“This guy is basically a hero, and he should be permitted to give care to detainees that is ethically appropriate,” Crider said.
It is the first time a nurse or doctor is known to have refused to tube-feed a prisoner, said Army Col. Greg Julian, a spokesman for Southern Command, which oversees Guantanamo. He said in a phone interview that the nurse is a lieutenant and has been assigned other duties at Guantanamo.
“It’s being handled administratively,” he said, declining further comment.
The Guantanamo spokesman, Navy Capt. Tom Gresback, did not respond to messages seeking comment.
Evicted mortuary left bodies behind
FORT WORTH, Texas – Police are investigating after finding eight bodies unattended after a mortuary service was told to move out of its building in Fort Worth, Texas.
Police Sgt. Raymond Bush said the property owner a couple of weeks ago told Johnson Family Mortuary to vacate the building.
He said the owner returned Tuesday morning to find eight bodies in the building but no workers. Bush said the bodies were in various stages of decomposition and ranged from infants to adults.
No charges have been filed. The Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office has taken custody of the bodies.