The United States Supreme Court will hear two cases on Monday that could spell the end of decades of race-based affirmative action in universities.
The cases concern allegations that Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill discriminate against Asian Americans — and in the UNC case, white people as well — because they consider race in admissions. Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) has sued every university, one public and one private, and will argue for the Supreme Court to end affirmative action in college applications.
The decision should fall next year. Legal experts predict the court will overturn a previous case, Grutter v. Bollinger, to end race-based college admissions.
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Margot Cleveland, a former law professor and permanent legal assistant to a federal appeals judge, said the court was about to overturn what she sees as another bad precedent.
“When the Court delivers its opinion, which probably won’t be for another six months or more, the majority will likely adopt the position of Chief Justice John Roberts in a 2007 case, when he wrote: ‘The way to end to discrimination on the basis of race, is to stop discriminating on the basis of race,” Cleveland told Fox News Digital. “Also missing from this debate is the reality that racial discrimination is not a victimless proposition, and often another minority, namely Asian Americans, suffers the consequences.”
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The previous college admissions case was decided in 2003 in a 5-4 decision which found that affirmative action is legal as long as it is intended to try to gain an educational advantage by having a diverse body. Judge Sandra Day O’Connor wrote in the majority opinion that she “expects that in 25 years time the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary to further the interest approved today.”
SUPREME COURT TO HEAR CASE THAT COULD END 40 YEARS OF RACE-BASED AFFIRMATIVE ACTION IN COLLEGE ADMISSIONS
Jonathan Turley, a professor at George Washington University School of Law, said O’Connor may be just a few years away from his prediction. The decades-long debate about affirmative action for universities may finally be coming to an end, he said.
“Both cases could turn out to be the long-awaited moments of a clear rule that has long eluded the Court due to its stark divisions,” Turley told Fox News Digital.
The SFFA originally sued Harvard in 2014. Lower courts ruled against the university, but were later overturned by a Boston district court which found the alleged discrimination affected a limited group of students.
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Andrew McCarthy, the former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said the facts of the case are clear: Universities received federal dollars and discriminated against a specific breed.
“It violates the law for universities to discriminate based on race, period,” McCarthy told Fox News Digital. “The tragedy is that the Supreme Court never said otherwise. The justices need to correct that.”