A case involving Harvard's affirmative action program will be seen my the Supreme Court.
Near the end of its just-concluded term, the Supreme Court ended the half-century reign of Roe v. Wade and forced several blue states to grant gun-carry permits more liberally. The Court’s next term, starting in October, promises more landmarks. Among other cases, the justices will hear challenges to racial preferences in admissions at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina.
The Constitution limits the use of race by government entities. More explicitly, federal law states that “No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.” If the justices simply take those words to mean what they say, any school receiving federal funds will have to stop considering race. The ultimate impact of that decision is hard to predict — many schools will, no doubt, continue to use race covertly, or even restructure their entire admissions processes to get their desired ethnic mix through an ostensibly colorblind system. (Many are already dropping standardized tests, for instance.) But the days of schools openly using applicants’ races as a “plus factor” are almost certainly numbered.
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