Supreme Court may end policies on affirmative action and voting rights for minorities

WASHINGTON - As the U.S. approaches a demographic tipping point – meaning that white people will no longer be the majority of the population for the first time – the Supreme Court is evaluating whether civil rights policies for minorities are still necessary.

Addressing two pivotal legal issues, one on affirmative action and a second on voting rights, a divided Supreme Court is poised to answer those questions.

In one case, the issue is whether race preferences in university admissions undermine equal opportunity more than they promote the benefits of racial diversity. In a second case, the court must decide whether race relations -- in the South, particularly -- have improved to the point that federal laws protecting minority voting rights are no longer warranted.

The questions are apt as the United States closes in on a demographic tipping point, when nonwhites will become a majority of the nation's population for the first time.