Suppose that in its current term the Supreme Court comes down like a sledgehammer on race-preferential admissions policies, giving Students for Fair Admissions (sffa) a historic win in its lawsuits against Harvard and the University of North Carolina. What then?
Will colleges and universities suddenly turn away from admissions standards that vary depending on whether a student is black, white, Asian, or Latino?
That seems unlikely. Many university officials consider their support for discriminatory standards to be a sacred duty. It would be naive to expect them to stop simply because the Supreme Court finally gets around to recognizing that this kind of race discrimination is illegal. They will either continue exactly as before or switch to an admissions policy that is facially race-neutral but in fact intricately engineered to produce their desired racial result.
Gail Heriot is a law professor at the University of San Diego and a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
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