The Ivy Coach Daily
January 24, 2022
Affirmative Action in Jeopardy
The right of universities to consider race as a factor in the college admissions process is now officially in legal peril. The United States Supreme Court agreed today to debate the legal right of Harvard University and the University of North Carolina — two cases brought by Edward Blum, the one-man band challenging Affirmative Action — to offer preference in admissions to candidates who are underrepresented minorities. And while it is little surprise that the nation’s highest court agreed to debate Affirmative Action, particularly with its now 6-3 conservative supermajority, it marks a major victory for Mr. Blum in his years-long quest to end the practice for good.
As Adam Liptak and Annemona Hartocollis report for The New York Times in a piece entitled “Supreme Court Will Hear Challenge to Affirmative Action at Harvard and U.N.C.,” “The court has repeatedly upheld similar programs, most recently in 2016. But the court’s membership has tilted right in recent years, and its new conservative supermajority is almost certain to view the challenged programs with skepticism, imperiling more than 40 years of precedent that said race could be used as one factor among many in evaluating applicants…The case against Harvard accused it of discriminating against Asian American students by using a subjective standard to gauge traits like likability, courage and kindness and by effectively creating a ceiling for them in admissions…In the North Carolina case, the plaintiffs made a more familiar argument, saying the university discriminated against white and Asian applicants by giving preference to Black, Hispanic and Native American ones. The university responded that its admissions policies fostered educational diversity and were lawful under longstanding Supreme Court precedents.”
So what will the Supreme Court rule, likely in the spring or summer of 2023? We know our readers are waiting eagerly for Ivy Coach’s crystal ball forecast. We hereby predict that the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling — with Chief Justice Roberts siding with the liberal justices — will deem the practice of Affirmative Action in college admissions unlawful. Yes, that’s right. While Affirmative Action has repeatedly been upheld by the lower courts, we believe the times, they are a-changin’. We believe the court’s now conservative supermajority will outlaw offering preference to underrepresented minorities in college admissions decision-making. And, wait, Ivy Coach’s crystal ball isn’t done making forecasts just yet. Our crystal ball hereby also predicts that, if Affirmative Action is ruled unlawful, America’s elite colleges will find a way around it to continue to offer preference to underrepresented minorities in admissions.
And, for the first time ever, here’s hoping Ivy Coach’s crystal ball prediction is dead wrong. Here’s hoping Justice Kavanaugh or Justice Gorsuch side with the liberal minority (in addition to Chief Justice Roberts). Here’s hoping that — once and for all — the nation’s high court rules that the consideration of race in admissions is lawful — just as the lower courts have done. America has a long way to go to atone for our nation’s original sin. We’re not there yet. Not even close. Affirmative Action is one important way we make progress towards that lofty goal.
Over the years, there has been no topic we’ve written about that has generated more heated discussion than Affirmative Action (with honorable mention to our support for the University of Pennsylvania’s transgender swimmer). We’ll publish any and all comments, so long as they’re civil, whether you agree or disagree with us. But they must be civil. So post away!
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