Chief Justice John Roberts: "There has to be a logical endpoint to your use of race [in admissions]. When is that endpoint?"

Justice Anthony Kennedy: "What you're saying is that what counts is race above all."

Justice Antonin Scalia: "What does the racial preference mean if it doesn't mean that in that situation the minority applicant wins and the other applicant loses?"

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, referring to the last time the court heard a major affirmative action case about admission to public universities, in April 2003, in which they allowed race to be considered as one factor among many: "It seems to me that this program is no more aggressive than the one in Grutter. In fact, it's more modest."

Justice Sonia Sotomayor to lawyer Bert Rein, representing Abigail Fisher, a white woman who was denied admission to the University of Texas at Austin: "You don't want to overrule Grutter. You just want to gut it."

Justice Samuel Alito: "In terms of diversity, how do you justify lumping together all Asian-Americans? Do you think you have a critical mass of Filipino-Americans? Of Cambodian-Americans?"

Justice Stephen Breyer: "Why overrule a case into which so much thought and effort went and so many people across the country have depended on?"

Justice Clarence Thomas followed his customary practice of listening in silence.

Justice Elena Kagan recused herself, presumably because she had worked on the case as solicitor general.

University of Texas President Bill Powers: "We believe the educational benefits of diversity are so important, we're fighting all the way to the Supreme Court."

Lawyer Bert Rein, representing Fisher: "Where is the end point? If you have nothing to gauge the success of the program ... there is no judicial supervision."