Supreme Court to hear challenge to Harvard, UNC race admission policy
The Supreme Court announced Monday it will take up a case challenging Harvard University and the University of North Carolina’s consideration of race in their admissions processes, which could bring about the end of affirmative action in the college application process.
Lower courts turned aside plaintiffs’ contention that both Harvard and UNC discriminate against Asian American applicants.
Arguments in the case will likely be heard this coming fall, with a decision coming sometime next year.
The Supreme Court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority, has taken up a number of controversial cases this term involving issues like the expansion of Second Amendment gun rights, a direct challenge to the 1973 landmark abortion law Roe v. Wade, and regulations surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.
The court’s most recent pronouncement on affirmative action was in 2016, in a 4-3 decision upholding the admissions program at the University of Texas against a challenge brought
However, two members of that four-justice majority are gone from the court: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died in 2020, and Justice Anthony Kennedy retired in 2018.
The three dissenters in the case, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, remain on the court.
The Supreme Court consolidated two cases filed by Students for Fair Admissions, a Virginia-based group founded by anti-affirmative action activist Edward Blum.
Students for Fair Admissions sued Harvard in 2014, alleging the Ivy League school violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 barring discrimination based on race, color or national origin under any program or activity that gets federal funds.
While Harvard is a private university, it receives government money and is required to abide by federal civil rights laws.