The conservative majority of the Supreme Court expressed skepticism about affirmative action during Monday’s arguments and questioned why universities should continue to use race as a factor in deciding who to admit.
The judges were clearly divided after hearing challenges to admissions policies at Harvard and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The Conservative Six said the court has in the past upheld race-based admissions policies as a temporary measure rather than a permanent measure. In their comments and questions, they said it might be time to end this policy.
Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh said, “Racial classifications are dangerous” and are not to be used routinely or forever. “Are we already there?” he asked.
“What is the end point?” Judge Amy Coney Barrett asked an attorney representing UNC. “Would you defend that in 2040?”
“It never ends,” said Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.
Judge Neil M. Gorsuch said that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 states that universities that receive federal funding must not discriminate on the basis of race or ethnicity.
But the court’s three liberals argued that affirmative action was and remains necessary.
Judge Elena Kagan said the country’s top universities need racial diversity on campuses. These schools are “pipelines for leadership in our society. These programs were deemed necessary,” she said.
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson strongly defended the consideration of a student’s race as a factor in considering their motions.
Why should universities consider “all other personal background considerations but not race”? She said.
She said it would be a mistake and perhaps discriminatory for the Supreme Court to ban the use of the breed outright.
The challengers asked the court to overturn its previous rulings, which upheld limited affirmative action on college admissions.
Lawyers for the two universities urged the court to uphold its precedents and take affirmative action. They were joined by US Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar.
Prelogar said a ruling in favor of the challengers would result in a sharp decline in “racial diversity in many of our nation’s leading institutions,” including American businesses and the nation’s military.
https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2022-10-31/supreme-court-hears-conservative-challenge-to-college-affirmative-action Supreme Court looks ready to end college affirmative action