The Supreme Court recently heard cases concerning Harvard and the University of Carolina admissions programs that take into account race to foster educational diversity.
The conservative supermajority appeared inclined to rule that the race-conscious admissions programs at Harvard and the University of North Carolina were unlawful. Conservative justices were hostile to explicit consideration of race in an application during nearly five hours of oral arguments.
Such a ruling could potentially jeopardize affirmative action at colleges and universities across the country by reducing the representation of Black and Latino students while increasing the number of white and Asian students. Affirmative action has been a contentious issue, strongly supported by educational institutions as essential to fostering diversity and condemned by conservatives as antithetical to the notion that racial equality means all races are treated equally.
After the justices heard arguments, activists in favor of affirmative action protested outside the Supreme Court. Liberal justices defended the use of race in admissions, reflecting the importance of diversity on campus and the difficulty of achieving it without considering race.