Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Affirmative Action in College Admissions
The nine Supreme Court justices heard oral arguments and gave their takes Monday in two cases seeking to outlaw race-based affirmative action in college admissions.
Key Quotes: Liberal Justice Elena Kagan said affirmative action helps institutions be "reflective of who we are as a people in all our variety." Conservative Justice Samuel Alito said it unjustly allows minority applicants to "start five yards closer to the finish line."
For Context: In 2003, the Supreme Court ruled that universities may consider race in their admissions processes as part of efforts to achieve diversity. The court has since upheld race-conscious college admissions programs twice, with the most recent time being six years ago. Students for Fair Admissions, which brought the lawsuits against Harvard University and the University of North Carolina, argues that the schools discriminated against white and Asian-American applicants. Lower courts have previously sided with the schools' arguments that evaluating race in admissions is ethical.
How the Media Covered It: Right-rated outlets often focused more on the allegations brought against Harvard and UNC; left-rated outlets focused more on the general benefits of affirmative action. The Washington Examiner's (Lean Right) editorial board wrote Monday that the court should "end legalized racial discrimination altogether." The Associated Press's article opened by saying that the "survival of affirmative action in higher education appeared to be in serious trouble Monday at a conservative-dominated Supreme Court."
Featured Coverage of this Story
From the LeftJustices raise doubts on race-conscious college admissions
The survival of affirmative action in higher education appeared to be in serious trouble Monday at a conservative-dominated Supreme Court after hours of debate over difficult questions of race.
The court is weighing challenges to admissions programs at the University of North Carolina and Harvard that use race among many factors in seeking a diverse student body.
The court’s six conservative justices all expressed doubts about the practice, while the three liberals defended the programs, which are similar to those used by many other private and public universities.
Arguments in the North Carolina case topped 2...
From the CenterIn cases challenging affirmative action, court will confront wide-ranging arguments on history, diversity, and the role of race in America
In 2003, the Supreme Court ruled in Grutter v. Bollinger that universities may consider race in their admissions processes as part of their efforts to achieve diversity on campus. On Oct. 31, the justices will hear oral arguments in a pair of cases asking them to overturn Grutter and outlaw race-based affirmative action in higher education altogether.
The challengers urge the justices to rule that the Constitution and federal civil rights laws bar any consideration of race in college admissions. But the universities at the center of the dispute, as well as their supporters, counter that overruling Grutter would have...
From the RightJustice Thomas Unloads on Lawyer Defending Affirmative Action: ‘Diversity Seems to Mean Everything for Everyone’
Justice Clarence Thomas pressed North Carolina’s solicitor general to explain how the University of North Carolina defines diversity during oral arguments on Monday in a Supreme Court case centered around the use of race as a factor in college admissions.
“I’ve heard the word diversity quite a few times and I don’t have a clue what it means,” said Thomas. “It seems to mean everything for everyone.”
Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) has challenged the race-based admissions policies of both Harvard and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), accusing both...
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