Today, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard and Students for Fair Admission v. University of North Carolina. These cases allege racial discrimination in college admissions.
The two university defendants, Harvard and UNC, prevailed in the lower courts. But now they must defend their blatant racial discrimination before a conservative-leaning Supreme Court.
We have written pretty extensively about the Harvard case. Some of our entries are here, here, and here. We wrote here about how Harvard ramped up its racial discrimination after prevailing (so far) in this case.
The Washington Post covers the cert grants here. It notes that the Trump administration supported the challenge to race-based admissions policies, but the Biden administration urged the Supreme Court not to hear these cases. It failed to persuade at least four Justices.
As to how the Court might rule, the Post observes that three current Justices dissented from the most recent Supreme Court decision that, in the Post’s words, “diversity justifies some intrusion on the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection, which generally forbids the government from making decisions based on race.” (I take it the Post is oblivious to how absurd and offensive these words are.)
The three Justices are Roberts, Thomas, and Alito. Of the three, only Roberts’ position may be in doubt. Regarding the Chief Justice, the Post says, “while Roberts often plays a moderating role on the court and is reluctant to overturn the court’s precedents, he has been a steadfast opponent of [racial preferences].”
What about the three Justices appointed by President Trump? All we know for sure is that at least one of them agreed that cert should be granted in these cases. But given the general conservatism of the three, there’s a good chance that, at a minimum, each will take a long hard look at the notion that “diversity justifies some intrusion on the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection.”
The Supreme Court will likely decide the case next term. Thus, it probably won’t be handing down potentially epic decisions on abortion and racial preferences in the same term.
I should add, however, that while reversing Roe v. Wade might be unpopular, upholding racial neutrality in admissions would not be. Edward Blum, head of the organization that brought these two suits, points out that “both the Pew Research Center and Gallup have released surveys which indicate that nearly 75% of Americans of all races do not believe race or ethnicity should be a factor in college admissions.”
Edward also had this to say:
Harvard and the University of North Carolina have racially gerrymandered their freshman classes in order to achieve prescribed racial quotas. Every college applicant should be judged as a unique individual, not as some representative of a racial or ethnic group.
The cornerstone of our nation’s civil rights laws is the principle that an individual’s race should not be used to help or harm them in their life’s endeavors. We hope the Supreme Court will use these cases to begin the restoration of the colorblind legal covenant that holds together Americans of all races and ethnicities.