Headline RoundupOctober 31st, 2022

Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Affirmative Action in College Admissions

AllSides Summary

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."

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