(CNN) — The US Supreme Court announced Monday that it would reconsider race-based affirmative action in college admissions, a move that could eliminate campus practices that have largely benefited black and Hispanic students.
The justices said they will hear challenges to policies at Harvard and the University of North Carolina that use a student’s race, among many criteria, to decide who should get a coveted spot in an entering class.
The cases will be heard in the term beginning in October with a decision likely in June 2023.
Supreme Court conservatives have increasingly set aside decades-old decisions. His acceptance of the appeals immediately calls into question precedents from 1978 and 2003 that allow universities to consider the race of students to improve campus diversity and the educational experience. Lower federal courts had sided with Harvard and the University of North Carolina.
Affirmative action based on race over the past 40 years has helped increase admission chances for many traditionally disadvantaged racial minorities. In the case against Harvard, challengers say those same practices have hurt Asian-American applicants.
The advocates who first developed the Harvard and UNC lawsuits in 2014 were aiming for an eventual battle on the Supreme Court, where affirmative action was upheld only by slim one-vote margins. In the nearly eight years since then, the court has gained more right-wing justices, notably the three appointed by former President Donald Trump.
The President of the Supreme Court, John RobertsFor his part, he long opposed racial policies, including in education.
“It is sordid business to divide us by race,” he wrote in a 2006 voting rights dispute. The following year, when a majority invalidated two public school integration plans, he wrote: “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
Linking their arguments to such statements by Roberts and other conservatives, challengers from Students for Fair Admissions argue that testing students based on race, even to meet educational goals, constitutes unlawful discrimination.
Lower U.S. courts that ruled in favor of Harvard and the University of North Carolina in the dual-track cases, however, said the programs used race in a sufficiently limited way to serve the compelling interests of the diversity. Lawyers for the university, as well as the Justice Department, had urged the high court to reject the appeals.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism