AUSTIN, Texas -- The full 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is being asked to consider a 2008 challenge to University of Texas admission standards.

A three-judge panel of the New Orleans-based court ruled Jan. 18 that UT-Austin can consider race and ethnicity in its admissions standards.

The panel upheld a ruling by U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks that found UT did not violate the law in refusing admission to two white, female students. Abigail Fisher and Rachel Michalewicz sued.

The Austin American-Statesman reports that the two plaintiffs have now asked the full court to consider their appeal.

UT s vice president for legal affairs, Patti Ohlendorf, said Thursday that a response will be prepared and that she believes the school s position and response will be very strong.

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