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Supreme Court to Hear Two Cases On College Race-Based Admissions Policies

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


The U.S. Supreme Court will hear challenges to the University of North Carolina and Harvard’s race-based admissions.

The nation’s highest court set a date of Oct. 31 to hear the arguments.

Alex Deise, an attorney and policy manager at FreedomWorks, said the Supreme Court can deliver a “historic” decision to abolish the “ability for higher education to use race-based affirmative action in admissions.”

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Both UNC and Harvard have been sued over allegations of discrimination against Asian and white Americans, with some arguing their civil rights were violated in the admissions process.

“By taking these cases, the Supreme Court has a historic opportunity to eliminate the ability of colleges and universities to explicitly discriminate on the basis of race in their admissions process,” Deise said.

“Students for Fair Admissions Inc. v. President & Fellows of Harvard College is one of two cases to come before the U.S. Supreme Court urging the Court to eliminate race as an admissions factor and, as a result, overturn the precedent case, Grutter v. Bollinger. The case also seeks to answer whether Harvard College violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act through its alleged discrimination against Asian-American students, stemming from the initial lawsuit,” Fox News reported.

“It’s very clear to me that Harvard University was engaging in blatant discrimination. And what they were doing was they did not like the fact that Asian-Americans – if they were simply admitted based on their credentials, qualifications – would have such a huge percentage of the student body,” Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation, told Fox News.

“Harvard and the University of North Carolina have racially gerrymandered their freshman classes in order to achieve prescribed racial quotas. Every college applicant should be judged as a unique individual, not as some representative of a racial or ethnic group,” SFFA President Edward Blum said in a statement.

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Overturning Grutter “would be the most dramatic, most far-reaching decision the Court could arrive at,” Rachel Moran, Professor of Law at UCI Law, told Fox News Digital. “So, under that approach, the Court would say that they don’t believe that under the First Amendment, academic freedom has any special stature. And because diversity is an expression of the college or university’s freedom to compose its student body, that doesn’t carry any special weight.”

Looking ahead, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas previously made it clear he’s ready to strike down affirmative action, calling the practice comparable to “bigotry.”

“I note that racial engineering does in fact have insidious consequences,” Thomas wrote, concerning a challenge to an affirmative action program at the University of Texas. “There can be no doubt that the University’s discrimination injures white and Asian applicants who are denied admission because of their race. But I believe the injury to those admitted under the University’s discriminatory admissions program is even more harmful,” Thomas previously argued.

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“Blacks and Hispanics admitted to the University as a result of racial discrimination are, on average, far less prepared than their white and Asian classmates,” Thomas added.

“The University admits minorities who otherwise would have attended less selective colleges where they would have been more evenly matched,” he argued. “But, as a result of the mismatching, many blacks and Hispanics who likely would have excelled at less elite schools are placed in a position where underperformance is all but inevitable because they are less academically prepared than the white and Asian students with whom they must compete. Setting aside the damage wreaked upon the self-confidence of these overmatched students, there is no evidence that they learn more at the university than they would have learned at other schools for which they were better prepared. Indeed, they may learn less.”

Eliminating the practice would send shockwaves across American higher education and leave many schools scrambling to find other ways to promote “diversity.”

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Opponents say ending affirmative action would make the process fairer, and some say colleges could preserve racial diversity by giving an advantage to low-income students.

Mike Zhao, president of the Asian American Coalition for Education, said Americans should have equal opportunity to achieve success “through hard work, determination, and initiative.”

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