by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Terry Eastland writes for the Martin Center about the latest lawsuit tackling affirmative action in higher education.
In 2016, the University of Texas won the case over its use of racial preferences (Fisher v. Texas), but the Supreme Court did not rule that all racial preference plans were legal. A new suit against Harvard may prove to be successful.
Here’s the background.
In its affirmative action cases, starting with the Bakke case in 1978, the Supreme Court has justified race-conscious admissions while also emphasizing that they should be “temporary.” Indeed, writing for the Court in the Grutter case in 2003, which upheld race-based admissions to the Michigan Law School, Justice O’Connor described as a “requirement” that “all [such] programs have a termination point.”
Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard College is a newly filed case in the federal district court in Boston. SFFA is a nonprofit whose members are students, each of whom was turned down by Harvard, notwithstanding superior academic credentials. Racial preferences, meanwhile, were used to boost the chances of admission for some students, mainly blacks and Hispanics. …
… Under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, recipients of federal funds may not discriminate on the basis of race in its programs. Harvard is a recipient, and SFFA contends that Harvard’s admissions program has racially discriminated against Asian-American applicants. The trial is scheduled for October 15, and the case will likely reach the Supreme Court—where Harvard’s preferential admissions policies will reach “a termination point.” At least we can hope so.