A Voice Cries Out for Affirmative Action
This coming Monday, America’s highest court will hear two seminal cases impacting our nation’s college admissions process: Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College (docket #20-1119) and Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. University of North Carolina (docket #21-707). On this day, the Supreme Court of the United States will hear arguments both for and against the practice of considering race in the college admissions process, a practice known as Affirmative Action, which has been in place for nearly half a century. And while the decision in these cases is still likely months away, the eyes of all Americans interested in a nation grounded by the principle of equal opportunity under the law should be squarely on the justices who will dictate the fate of America’s meritocracy.
Over the years on the pages of this college admissions blog as well as in the press, we have made seemingly countless arguments in defense of the practice of Affirmative Action. In short, we believe it a necessary practice to create the beautifully diverse America we wish to see, to redress the horrors of our nation’s original sin, to allow all people — irrespective of their race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, sexual identity, national origin, age, disability, and more — the chance to pursue with vigor their American Dream. And we believe Affirmative Action, offering preferential treatment in admissions to underrepresented minorities, is being used as a scapegoat for the despicable but very real discrimination that Asian Americans face in the college admissions process in America. After all, the earmarking of slots for deserving Black, Latino, and Native American young people does not cap the number of Asian American applicants who can earn admission to America’s finest universities any more so than the practice of legacy admission, which overwhelmingly favors white applicants. Or the admission of recruited athletes, which too overwhelmingly favors white applicants.
We are not naive. We understand that our nation’s Supreme Court leans heavily conservative at the present moment. We understand, with profound regret, that it is highly likely the practice of Affirmative Action will soon be outlawed. Yet we hold out hope. We hold out hope that our high court will not be swayed by public opinion but rather by what is right. We hold out hope that Chief Justice Roberts will sway his conservative peers, perhaps Justice Gorsuch, Justice Kavanaugh, and/or Justice Coney Barrett to do what is just and uphold the law of the land.
Go Harvard! Go UNC! Go get ’em!
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