Will SCOTUS Take the Opportunity to Ban Race-Conscious Admissions?Breaking News
tags: Supreme Court, higher education, affirmative action, colleges and universities
In the end, Edward J. Blum got what he wanted — another chance to take down race-conscious admissions programs.
On Monday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear two cases brought by Students for Fair Admissions, known as SFFA, against Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Blum, a conservative activist who leads the group, said in a written statement that he hoped the Supreme Court, which has consolidated the two cases, would use them “to begin the restoration of the colorblind legal covenant” by ending the consideration of race in admissions at all public and private colleges in the land.
Blum has lost every legal battle in his most recent campaign against race-conscious admissions. But is he poised to win the war?
Yes, a slew of pundits have proclaimed. After all, conservative justices hold a 6-to-3 advantage on the Supreme Court, which, it’s fair to assume, will look skeptically upon even the limited consideration of applicants’ race in admissions.
But the end of race-conscious admissions is not a foregone conclusion, Arthur L. Coleman, co-founder and managing partner at EducationCounsel, told The Chronicle on Monday. “People are once again saying, ‘The sky is falling.’ Stop. We don’t know yet,” he said. “I’m not about to predict with any degree of certainty that this is the death knell for the consideration of race in admissions.”
Many observers were certain that they heard the bells tolling nearly 20 years ago when the Supreme Court heard two legal challenges to race-conscious admissions policies at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. But then, in 2003, a 5-to-4 majority upheld the Michigan Law School’s narrowly tailored consideration of race, in Grutter v. Bollinger. The justices ruled that the law school’s individualized review of each applicant — in which race was one of many factors considered — furthered a compelling interest in attaining educational benefits resulting from a diverse student body.
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