William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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AND IN THE REAL WORLD:  Our election campaign isn't the only important thing happening.  The Supreme Court is at work, and about to tackle one of the most important, and controversial, issues of our time.  In significance, this is in the Roe v. Wade category.  From The Hill: 

The future of affirmative action in higher education hangs in the balance as the Supreme Court on Monday hears arguments over race-conscious admissions policies at two prestigious universities.

Harvard and the University of North Carolina (UNC) will be defending their use of race — as one of many admissions criteria — to attain the educational benefits of a diverse student body.

Their conservative-backed challengers, Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA), contend that the schools’ approach violates constitutional protections and federal law and want the court to prohibit admissions offices from considering an applicant’s race at all.

Ishan Bhabha, a partner at the law firm Jenner & Block, who filed an amicus brief on behalf of Ivy League and other elite schools, said that if the Supreme Court takes that dramatic step, the repercussions for higher education would be severe.

“If you don’t have a series of divergent viewpoints … then one of the most important priorities of institutions of higher education — which is to forward knowledge, to ask difficult questions, to explore unknown concepts and have one idea clash against another to try and figure out which one is correct or which one is defensible — that is significantly hampered,” said Bhabha, who co-leads his firm’s initiative on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).

With the case coming on the heels of a Supreme Court term that saw conservative justices overturn landmark rulings including Roe v. Wade, many legal experts believe that longstanding affirmative action precedent is now on the chopping block.

“This is a court that I think has a solid six-justice majority that sees racial labeling or racial tagging, for any purpose whatsoever, as a constitutional evil,” said Steve Schwinn, a law professor at the University of Illinois Chicago.

The challengers are asking the 6-3 conservative majority court to overrule its landmark 2003 decision in Grutter v. Bollinger, which permits colleges to diversify their student populations by using race as one part of a holistic assessment of individual applicants.

COMMENT:  The Court will probably not hand down its decision until June, so rioters have many months to get their slogans together and their chants written. 

October 30, 2022