Supreme Court to address affirmative action in higher education

Harvard and University of North Carolina face lawsuits in the fall, while Judge Breyer announces retirement.

Caleb Jonker, News Editor

The Supreme Court is scheduled to see cases about affirmative action, specifically in higher education. According to The New York Times the affirmative action policies at both Harvard University and at the University of North Carolina will take the stand.


The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that the group, Students for Fair Admission, filed against the universities claiming that their affirmative action policies discriminate against Asian American students. SFFA’s mission is to fight for civil rights in higher education. Its motto states, “A student’s race and ethnicity should not be factors that either harm or help that student to gain admission to a competitive university.”

At Harvard, SFFA claimed that when the university uses race as a criteria to select students it gives students from Asian American backgrounds a disadvantage. SFFA claimed that Harvard’s system does not treat every student as an individual, but instead discriminates against Asian American students. SFFA used evidence of nearly unchanging diversity rates to prove the misuse of race in the Harvard application process.

The case against UNC used a similar argument that the admissions process at UNC abused the use of race, and discriminated against students in the process. SFFA claimed that rather than using the race of students to pursue greater diversity in the student body, the process prevented the admission of Asian American students in favor of students from other minority backgrounds.

The New York Times reported that the cases are likely to be decided in 2023.


Justice Stephen Breyer announced his retirement today, according to NBC. Breyer served for more than 27 years and was one of three liberal justices on the Supreme Court. Breyer’s retirement gives President Joe Biden the opportunity to fulfill his campaign promise of nominating a Black woman to the Supreme Court. 

According to a 2016 New York Times article, Breyer backed affirmative action last time a case was in the court.

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