Jan 24, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court agrees to hear challenge to affirmative action at Harvard, UNC

Supreme Court building
Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a pair of cases challenging the consideration of race in the college admissions processes.

Why it matters: The conservative high court's ruling could determine the future of affirmative action in higher education.

Driving the news: The challenges — one against Harvard, a private institution, and the other against the University of North Carolina, a state school — argue their admissions processes discriminate against Asian American applicants.

  • The challenges have been brought by the conservative nonprofit Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA).
  • Lower courts have rejected the claims, pointing to decades of high court rulings affirming the use of race in college admissions. The schools have denied their processes discriminate.

The big picture: The Biden administration last month urged the Supreme Court to reject the challenge to Harvard's affirmative action policy.

  • The administration argued that SFFA has not proved the "special justification" needed to overturn precedents on affirmative action, which "correctly recognize that securing the educational benefits that flow from such diversity is a sufficiently compelling interest to justify race-conscious measures," Axios' Shawna Chen reported.

Go deeper: Affirmative action on campus is endangered

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