The Supreme Court’s Conservatives Are Going To End Affirmative Action In Higher Education

by | Oct 31, 2022 | Politics

The Supreme Court’s six conservative justices appeared ready to end affirmative action on Monday, during arguments in two cases challenging the limited use of race in college and university admissions.In Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard University and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina, white and Asian students claim that the use of race in admissions that helps the enrollment of Black, Hispanic and Native American students unconstitutionally discriminates against whites and Asians by violating Title VI of the Civil Rights Act in both cases and the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause granting equal treatment to all persons under the law in the North Carolina case.AdvertisementThe lawyers for Students for Fair Admissions, a nonprofit group run by conservative lawyer Ed Blum, who is white and has brought numerous cases before the Supreme Court challenging race-conscious policy-making, argued that any use of race was unconstitutional. They asked the court to overrule its prior precedents authorizing the limited use of race to achieve diversity in the 1978 case of Regents of the University of California v. Bakke and the approval of the limited affirmative action program used by the University of Michigan in Grutter v. Bollinger.“Grutter is grievously wrong,” Patrick Strawbridge, counsel for Students for Fair Admissions, said in arguing that any consideration of race in admissions is unconstitutional and “divisive.”The court’s six-justice conservative supermajority has the votes to overturn Grutter. Justices John Roberts, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas have all previously ruled in favor of ending race-conscious affirmative action programs. While Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett have a limited record on the issue, they all aligned with the arguments made by the plaintiffs on Monday.Indeed, in their questioning of the lawyers in support of the University of North Carolina, the conservative justices set up a lose-lose situation.AdvertisementFirst, they pressed Ryan Park, North Carolina’s solicitor general, and U.S. solicitor general Elizabeth Prelogar to explain how the university measures diversity to know when it has reached a point where it no longer needs to have any kind of race-conscious admissions policy. Gorsuch asked Park how the university can know it is reaching its goal of diversity “without taking account of numbers.”Alito repeatedly pressed Park on whether the university would believe it met its goal if the percentage of underrepresented racial minorities, like Blacks, Hispanics and Native Amer …

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