A Roundup of Affirmative Action Takes as SCOTUS Hears Arguments in Harvard, UNC Cases

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tags: Supreme Court, higher education, affirmative action

With the U.S. Supreme Court hearing two major affirmative-action cases today — Students for Fair Admissions v. UNC and Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard — higher-ed experts and the public alike are looking for clues to how the justices are leaning. The moment has also seen an outpouring of argumentation in the media. Here’s a roundup of how that debate is playing out. —The Editors

Dahlia Lithwick and Mark Joseph Stern, Slate: “What was perhaps most remarkable in these largely predictable arguments was how much time the conservative justices devoted to pure policy arguments. These justices dislike affirmative action for a whole lot of deep emotional reasons that, it turns out, have nothing to do with the Constitution.”

Megan McArdle, The Washington Post: “No matter what you think of this court, we were probably going to eventually end up here. America’s decades-old racial settlement had many cracks, but it was a workable solution to real problems. However, it has gone on for far longer than could have been anticipated, a fact that came up repeatedly during Monday’s oral arguments, and time has deepened the early cracks into gaping fissures.”

The Economist“Two hours into the marathon hearings, Justice [Elena] Kagan asked Ms. [Elizabeth] Prelogar [the U.S. solicitor general] whether a ‘committed originalist’ like most members of the conservative majority would find the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause to bar race-consciousness. There is ‘nothing in history’ to support a principle of race-blindness in the amendments passed in the wake of the Civil War, she said.”

Adam Liptak, The New York Times: “In general, two themes ran through questions from the court’s conservatives: that educational diversity can be achieved without directly taking account of race and that there must come a time when colleges and universities stop making such distinctions.”

Read entire article at Chronicle of Higher Education