The Ivy Coach Daily

July 22, 2022

Procedural Change in Affirmative Action Case

The Harvard and UNC cases will be heard separately by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Back in March at her Senate confirmation hearing, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson agreed to recuse herself from the forthcoming Affirmative Action case if appointed to the United States Supreme Court. Back then, the nation’s highest court intended to hear both the Students For Fair Admissions v. Harvard University case as well as the Students For Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill together as one combined lawsuit. Because Judge Brown Jackson previously served on Harvard’s Board of Overseers, it seemed fair that the judge would not hear the case before the court against Harvard if confirmed. But, as announced today in a court order, the Supreme Court will no longer hear these two cases together. Now that her appointment has been confirmed and now that there’s been a procedural change, Justice Brown Jackson will thus be able to cast a vote in the SFFA v. UNC case. True to her word, she will still not hear the SFFA v. Harvard case.

As Rahem D. Hamid and Caroline S. Engelmayer report for The Harvard Crimson in a piece entitled “Supreme Court to Hear Harvard, UNC Affirmative Action Cases Separately,” “The Supreme Court will hear lawsuits challenging affirmative action at Harvard and the University of North Carolina separately, a procedural change that will allow newly seated Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson ’92 to rule on the UNC case. The change, announced in a court order on Friday, comes six months after the court said it would jointly take up the cases, both brought by the anti-affirmative action group Students for Fair Admissions…SFFA petitioned the Supreme Court last November to combine its lawsuits against Harvard and UNC, citing similarities between the two cases. The Supreme Court joined the cases when it agreed to take them up in January before Friday’s reversal. The Harvard and UNC cases will each be allotted one hour for oral arguments. The cases are expected to be heard this year during the court’s fall term.”

Yet, in spite of the procedural change, Ivy Coach’s famously accurate crystal ball hereby forecasts that the Supreme Court will arrive at the same decisions, overturning Affirmative Action in both the Harvard and UNC cases — albeit by a different vote margin. In the SFFA v. Harvard case, we anticipate the conservative Chief Justice Roberts siding with his two liberal colleagues, Justice Sotomayor and Justice Kagan (5-3). In the SFFA v. UNC case, we anticipate Chief Justice Roberts siding with his three liberal colleagues, Justice Sotomayor, Justice Kagan, and Justice Brown Jackson (5-4). In both cases, we anticipate the conservatives will write the majority opinions.

Do our readers agree? Disagree? Let us know your thoughts by posting a comment below. We look forward to hearing from you!

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