The Supreme Court is Preparing to Abolish Affirmative Action In College Admissions
This week the Supreme Court announced that it will revisit the question of affirmative action in college admissions. It will hear challenges to policies at Harvard and the University of North Carolina that employ race as one factor in admissions. The cases are Students for Fair Admissions v. President & Fellows of Harvard College and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina [UNC]. The court consolidated them for oral argument this Fall.
Affirmative action in college admissions was originally created to right some of the wrongs of hundreds of years of slavery and segregation, but a series of "reverse discrimination" cases greatly limited such initiatives. The Supreme Court has said that the Constitution and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 generally bar any race-based distinctions in the admissions policies of public and private universities, and race-based quotas have been banned by the Court for decades. However, in the case Grutter v. Bollinger in 2003, the justices held that the benefits of student diversity provide a compelling reason to allow universities to use race as one very limited factor when deciding which students to admit.
Grutter v. Bollinger: "Numerous studies show that student body diversity promotes learning outcomes, and ‘better prepares students for an increasingly diverse workforce and society, and better prepares them as professionals.’”
In 2016, the Court further narrowed the use of race in admissions in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, but again acknowledged that campus diversity represented a compelling rationale for affirmative action initiatives. The Harvard and UNC cases are the first challenge to race-conscious university admissions programs since Fisher and it's expected that the new and very conservative 6-3 majority on the Court will use the case to end affirmative action entirely. Unfortunately, most conservatives have no wish to foster campus diversity.
By: Don Lam & Curated Content