You may not be checking the race box on applications much longer. The Supreme Court is taking up a case that could determine the future of affirmative action in college admissions. Two cases will be argued Monday involving affirmative action, the race-conscious admissions policy, at Harvard and the University of North Carolina. The Court has upheld similar cases in the past. However, the current 6-3 conservative majority could mean a different result this time around. Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the Court’s newest justice, has recused herself from the Harvard case. This is due to her connections to the university. Jackson attended Harvard Law School.
What Is Affirmative Action?
According to the Oxford Dictionary, affirmative action (in the context of the allocation of resources or employment) is the practice or policy of favoring individuals belonging to groups known to have been discriminated against previously.
According to News 5 WCYB, the cases originated from lawsuits brought by Edward Blum and a group called Students for Fair Admissions. They argue that schools can achieve diversity without focusing on race. This includes focusing on things like socioeconomic status and eliminating the preference for children of alumni and major donors. Meanwhile, the article states that the universities feel that without using race (which they claim to do sparingly) it would be hard to have a student body “as diverse as America”.
All eyes will be on the University of North Carolina and affirmative action Monday. It will be interesting to see what the court will do in this case. Affirmative action has been upheld previously by the Supreme Court. It will also be interesting to see if the court does find the practice unconstitutional will this have repercussions beyond college admissions.