The Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to tackle another election-year blockbuster and will decide whether the University of Texas’ race-conscious admission policies violate the rights of white applicants.

If health care reform, illegal immigration crackdowns, voting rights and TV indecency were not enough, now the nine-member bench is poised to add to its high-profile docket, wading into the divisive, sea-change issue of state-mandated racial diversity and affirmative action. Oral arguments would be held this fall, ensuring the court — however it decides the appeal — will be a major campaign issue. A ruling however will not likely be issued until early 2013.

Abigail Noel Fisher, a former high school graduate from Sugar Land, Texas, individually sued the flagship state university when her college application was rejected in 2008. The school defends its policy of considering race as one of many factors — such as test scores, community service, leadership and work experience — designed to create a diverse campus.

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