The ACLU reported that it had filed amicus curiae briefs in two cases before the United States Supreme Court, Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard College and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina, both of which challenge whether or not higher education can legally consider race in its application approval process.
“Ending the consideration of race in college admissions would ignore the country’s ongoing challenge of racial inequality and threaten diversity and inclusion on campuses everywhere,” Sarah Hinger, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Racial Justice Program, said in a press release.
“Race-conscious admissions practices help create a diverse student body and enrich the educational experiences of all students,” Hinger argued. “The Supreme Court’s holdings have recognized this for decades, and we urge the court to protect universities’ ability to consider race in the admissions process.”
The ACLU also tweeted, “All students deserve equitable access to higher education.”
All students deserve equitable access to higher education.
— ACLU (@ACLU) August 1, 2022
Proponents of race-based admissions claim that it helps minorities, but opponents point out that such policies often harm Asian Americans.
“It’s been argued that Asian Americans have to score as much as 450 points higher on the SAT to have a similar chance of admission as black students,” Kenny Xu, author of “An Inconvenient Minority,” wrote in 2021. “In 2020, Duke economics professor Peter Arcidiacono found that a black student in the fourth-lowest academic decile has a higher chance of admissions than an Asian in the top decile.”
“Harvard disproportionately scores Asian Americans the lowest on ‘personality’ to justify this discrimination — a case of blatant snobbery not backed up by data: Asians score just as well as whites and other minorities in alumni interviews,” Xu noted.
In reaction to the ACLU’s support for affirmative action, columnist David Marcus tweeted, “I want to see the head of the @aclu sit down with the Asian kid whose immigrant parents operate a small bodega that can’t go to Harvard even though he earned it and explain why it’s for the best. Not best for him maybe, but for somebody else.”
I want to see the head of the @aclu sit down with the Asian kid whose immigrant parents operate a small bodega that can’t go to Harvard even though he earned it and explain why it’s for the best. Not best for him maybe, but for somebody else. https://t.co/LD5aNc2D3j
— David Marcus (@BlueBoxDave) August 2, 2022
Legal experts like Alex Deise, an attorney and policy manager at FreedomWorks, have also argued that the two cases present an opportunity for the High Court to undo decades of bad legal precedent.
“By taking these cases, the Supreme Court has a historic opportunity to eliminate the ability of colleges and universities to explicitly discriminate on the basis of race in their admissions process,” Deise told The Daily Wire in January.
Deise noted that a 2003 case that allowed affirmative action to stand was not only not based on the Constitution, but it was also a bad way to stop race-based discrimination.
“The Court made a serious mistake in Grutter v Bollinger (2003) when it upheld these processes under the false notion that the educational benefits from a diverse student body was more important than the Equal Protection Clause’s central command of race neutrality,” he added. “The Court should overrule Grutter and heed Chief Justice Roberts advice from a similar case that ‘[t]he way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.’”