It’s possible that the Supreme Court could ban or limit affirmative action

The justices of the U.S. Supreme Court could be getting ready to ban or otherwise limit the use of affirmative action-type policies in college admissions processes.

The Hill reports that if the justices were to do so they would reverse “40 years of precedent” and they would overturn “admission practices at hundreds of colleges and universities.”


The opportunity to ban or limit affirmative action is presented to the Supreme Court by a lawsuit that has been filed against both Harvard University and the University of North Carolina (UNC).

The lawsuit comes from the Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA). The SFFA alleges that these schools have violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act by discriminating against Asian Americans and whites in their admissions practices.

The schools deny this allegation.

The case was first brought back in 2014. After an initial legal victory for the SFFA, the group has suffered defeat upon appeal.

Now, though, the U.S. Supreme Court has decided to hear the case. And, the decision that the justices make could have an enormous impact on college admissions going forward.

Ending 40 years of precedent

The Hill spends a lot of effort in its report arguing in favor of maintaining the status quo, allowing affirmative action college admissions policies to continue.

The outlet reports:

In a series of decisions dating back to 1978, the Supreme Court concluded that the educational benefits of diversity constitute a compelling governmental interest justifying some consideration of race in college admissions. Decades of social science research and “the overwhelming consensus of American universities” support that conclusion. Affirmative action is also justified, we would add, because, as Matt Zwolinski and John Tomasi have observed, discrimination against groups, like radioactive waste, “has a long, diffuse, and toxic half-life.”

What The Hill does not touch upon are the negatives of affirmative action, including the reverse racism that affirmative action practices could cause, which appears to be at issue in the lawsuit.

Oral arguments before the Supreme Court are scheduled for Oct. 31. The justices, though, would not be expected to make a decision in the case until June 2023.

There is no telling how the justices will rule. But, it’s clear that this could end up being an extremely impactful case.

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