News Update

Supreme Court to consider challenges to affirmative action admissions at Harvard, UNC

The U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday it will review two lawsuits challenging the consideration of race in college admissions — also known as affirmative action — at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina.

Affirmative action programs have long been a target of conservatives, and now that the Supreme Court has a conservative supermajority, the programs could face a serious challenge. In the past, with a more left-leaning membership, the Supreme Court had upheld affirmative action programs. Most recently, the court upheld the use of race in the admissions process of the University of Texas in 2016, according to The Hill.

Legal experts say the current Supreme Court’s review of these lawsuits could imperil more than 40 years of precedent allowing race to be used as a factor in evaluating college applicants, according to The New York Times.

One of the two lawsuits filed by conservative activist group Students for Fair Admissions alleged Harvard University wrongly used race in its admissions considerations and discriminated against Asian American students by using racial quotas. The district court and an appeals court didn’t find evidence to support the claims.

Students for Fair Admissions’ lawsuit challenging UNC claims the university discriminated against white and Asian applicants by giving preference to Black, Hispanic and Native American ones, the Times reported. The university maintains that its policies foster educational diversity and are lawful.

The Supreme Court likely won’t hear the arguments until its next term in October, and a decision isn’t likely until spring or summer 2023, the Times reported.