The United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments for two cases about affirmative action. The two cases are Students for Fair Admissions Inc. v. President & Fellows of Harvard College and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina.
According to Chris Enloe at The Blaze, there are three purposes for the cases. The first one is to decide whether race can play a role in college admissions. This is “affirmative action” and is currently legal.
A second purpose is to decide if “Harvard
College is violating Title VI of the Civil Rights Act by penalizing Asian
American applicants, engaging in racial balancing, overemphasizing race and
rejecting workable race-neutral alternatives” (SCOTUS Blog).
The third purpose is for the court
to decide whether “a university can reject a race-neutral alternative because
it would change the composition of the student body, without proving that the
alternative would cause a dramatic sacrifice in academic quality or the
educational benefits of overall student-body diversity.”
Justice Clarence Thomas does not like
affirmative action. During oral arguments, he asked North Carolina Solicitor
General Ryan Park to define “diversity” and then to explain the “educational
benefits” of diversity. Park did not have a specific definition for “diversity”
but went through the motions. After listening to Park explanation, Thomas said,
“I’ve heard similar arguments in favor of segregation too.” Enroe reported the
Thomas’ objection to affirmative action is
In a previous case – Grutter v.
Bollinger, the case that could be overturned – Thomas explained how the
racial considerations innate in affirmative action are dehumanizing.
“The Constitution abhors classifications
based on race not only because those classifications can harm favored races or
are based on illegitimate motives, but also because every time the government
places citizens on racial registers and makes race relevant to the provision of
burdens or benefits, it demeans us all,” he wrote in an opinion.
In another affirmative action case, Fisher
v. University of Texas, Thomas explicated his comparison to arguments for
“It is irrelevant under the Fourteenth
Amendment whether segregated or mixed schools produce better leaders,” he
“Indeed, no court today would accept the
suggestion that segregation is permissible because historically black colleges
produced Booker T. Washington, Thurgood Marshall, Martin Luther King, Jr., and
other prominent leaders,” he explained. “Likewise, the University’s racial
discrimination cannot be justified on the ground that it will produce better
This combined case will be
interesting to watch. I have wondered for many years how affirmative action
could be justified. There are smart people and stupid people in every race. In
America, anyone can achieve success IF they are willing to work and sacrifice
for it. The fact that there is no affirmative action in the National Football League
or the National Basketball League or in Major League Baseball should tell us
that there should be no affirmative action in medical schools or any other
university. If affirmative action would destroy major league sports, what makes
anyone think that it does not destroy other professions as well?