(LOS ANGELES TIMES) — The Supreme Court cast doubt Tuesday on the future of affirmative action at the nation’s colleges and universities, agreeing to hear an appeal from a white student in Texas who seeks an end to “racial preferences” in college admissions.

The decision could either limit the use of affirmative action or broadly forbid using race as an admissions factor.

However, because the court’s calendar is filled through the spring, the court will not hear arguments in the case until October, weeks before the presidential election.

The Obama administration could choose to weigh in on the issue, but it need not do so. The court’s intervention nonetheless is an ominous sign for defenders of affirmative action. Justice Elena Kagan also announced she will not take part in the decision.

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