In what could prove a pivotal development in the fight against affirmative action in higher education, the U.S. Supreme Court will soon deliberate on whether to hear a challenge to Harvard University’s admissions policies, which allegedly result in illegal discrimination against Asian Americans, as The Hill reports.
The case at issue originated in 2014, when a group known as Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) filed suit against Harvard and claimed that the university’s consideration of race in assessing admissions applications produces unlawful, discriminatory results when it comes to Asian Americans.
According to the group, Harvard’s use of race in selecting incoming classes is a violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which forbids recipients of federal funds from engaging in discrimination “on the grounds of race, color, or national origin,” as the Harvard Crimson noted.
In November of last year, a federal appeals court held that Harvard’s inclusion of racial considerations in its admissions decisions was not “impermissibly extensive” and was a “meaningful” method of halting a decline in diversity among new students, as Reuters reported at the time.
In requesting that the high court grant certiorari and hear the case, SFFA implored the justices to reverse the holding in Grutter v. Bollinger, a case from 2003 which upheld the right of higher education admissions officials to use race as a factor in building freshman classes as a way to further diversity goals and benefit disadvantaged groups.
Earlier this week, the Supreme Court docket was updated to show that the Harvard case had been scheduled for discussion at the justices’ June 10 conference. As such, at least one justice had to have voted to include the matter on the list of cases to be considered for hearing.
If four out of the nine justices vote in favor of granting certiorari, the case will indeed be heard, potentially in the court’s next term, and any decision to do so would likely be made public on the Monday morning following the June 10 conference, as the Crimson further noted.
Amid the current climate in which critical race theory and other divisive ideologies have made increasing headway in educational institutions across the country, many believe it is incumbent on the high court to hear this case in order to put an end to what Paul Mirengoff at the Powerline blog aptly labeled “the racial spoils system” that threatens to take even deeper root.
The Wall Street Journal editorial board rightly agreed that the Supreme Court does need to accept this case and address the growing crisis sooner rather than later, warning, “If the justices abdicate on the race question now, the virus of racial separatism will spread even more deeply into American life.”