What's more important — making sure students can attend good schools, or making sure schools are diverse? It's a tough question, and one that the Supreme Court will have to tackle soon.
The court is expected to issue major affirmative action rulings this week, deciding whether local school districts can consider race in order to keep classrooms diverse.
The court is more conservative than it was the last time it addressed the issue of race and schools in 2003. But there's another reason these cases are being closely watched.
That 2003 verdict was considered a victory for affirmative action supporters, but it hasn't worked out that way.
The justices ruled that universities could consider race when admitting students, but only when admitting students. Programs affiliated with the university had to give equal opportunity to all races.
Conservative legal groups, with the backing of the Bush administration, have attacked scholarships, fellowships and outreach programs created exclusively for minorities.
Emily Smith thought she was on track to attend a prestigious journalism workshop at Virginia Commonwealth University until school officials discovered she's white. Emily's mother decided to sue the university and the workshop's sponsor, the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund.
For more than 20 years, the journalism workshop served only minorities, but after the Smiths and the newspaper fund settled, the workshop now serves white students, as well. For her part, Smith began enjoying the fruits of the court's 2003 decision when she recently began her journalism workshop.
Jan Crawford Greenburg contributed to this report.