Supreme Court Will Hear Two Cases on Affirmative Action

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The U.S. Supreme Court will once again revisit the legality of affirmative action in higher education. A precedent was set to offset racism in college admissions. Since that time, minorities have broken every glass ceiling.

On Monday, the high court said it would take up a pair of cases that challenge the use of race as a factor in undergraduate admissions at Harvard University, the nation’s oldest private college, and the University of North Carolina, the nation’s oldest public state university.

Universities want more minorities in their schools. However, they are accused of using discrimination against Asians (a minority) and Whites to achieve it. Some say it damages our successful system of meritocracy.

ABC News:

Some studies suggest the policies — which consider race as one of many factors when reviewing applicants to further a diverse student body — have had a profound effect on opportunities for minority applicants, which in turn impact their job chances and careers. And they suggest that stopping them not only decreases the number of Black and Latino students enrolling in colleges but increases those of advantaged groups.

“It is a very, very significant threat to the continued constitutionality of affirmative action,” Tanya Washington, a professor of law at Georgia State University whose research focuses on educational equity, told ABC News.

Are the policies discriminatory?

Opponents — including the conservative group Students for Fair Admissions, which has brought both cases against the universities — have argued that the policies are discriminatory and violate students’ civil rights and the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection.

Affirmative Action has existed since 1978. Time and precedent alone doesn’t make something right. Things change.

In the 2003 case Grutter vs. Bollinger, which the cases against Harvard and UNC are seeking to overturn, the court said that the goal of a diverse student body justifies the use of race, along with other factors, in admissions policies.

It appears to go against our Constitution.

The court set the bar higher for schools with its 2013 decision in the case of Abigail Fisher. Ms. Fischer was a white woman who attempted to end the consideration of race in the University of Texas’ admissions policies. In the majority opinion, former Justice Anthony Kennedy said that institutions must first exhaust all race-neutral means before considering race. That included recruitment and socio-economic indicators.

Kennedy’s formula would be difficult to police if not impossible. Affirmative Action seems inherently discriminatory. What do you think?

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Do we bring about equality with discrimination according to the color of a person’s skin? Is Affirmative Action still the answer?


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