Our stacked and illegitimate Supreme Court is looking to overturn another 40 years of precedence and throw-out the last vestiges of affirmative action:
The Supreme Court is again examining whether universities may consider race when trying to build diverse student bodies, reviewing admissions policies at the nation’s oldest private college and public university. Lower courts found that Harvard and the University of North Carolina complied with past Supreme Court rulings that allowed race as one factor in evaluating applicants.
Tiger Beat on the Potomac (thanks Charlie!) morning email thingie:
This morning, SCOTUS will hear oral arguments in two cases challenging the use of race in college admissions at Harvard and the University of North Carolina.
There is little mystery about the outcome.
Previous attempts to overturn the use of affirmative action by colleges have failed. In 2003, Justice SANDRA DAY O’CONNOR, nominated by RONALD REAGAN, provided the decisive vote in Grutter v. Bollinger. In 2016, Justice ANTHONY KENNEDY, another Reagan nominee, did the same in Fisher v. University of Texas. Those cases narrowed the use of race in admissions to one permissible goal: diversity.
But the court has changed radically since 2016, and the six conservative justices have a history of hostility to Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, the 1978 opinion that first blessed college affirmative action programs. As the court made clear in Dobbs, if five justices believe that an old case is “egregiously wrong,” 40-plus years of precedent don’t matter.
And of course, this is one of Chief Justice John Roberts’ pet peeves as TBotP point out:
His two most oft-quoted lines on the issue come from the earliest days of his SCOTUS tenure. “It is a sordid business, this divvying us up by race,” Roberts wrote in a 2006 gerrymandering case. “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race,” he wrote in a 2007 school desegregration case.
It was in that latter opinion that Roberts best articulated the conservative view of Brown v. Board of Education, which is at the heart of the cases that will be heard today. Brown, he insisted, quoting one of the plaintiff’s lawyers at oral arguments in 1952, concluded that “no state has any authority under the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to use race as a factor in affording educational opportunities among its citizens.”
And in a surprise twist for the new-and-
improved conservative owned Tiger Beat, they look to corporate America, where (let’s face it) is the only constituent outside of billionaires that have a say in Republicans’ plans:
Bloomberg’s Kelsey Butler and Patricia Hurtado note that’s one reason that “[n]early 70 major U.S. companies, including Alphabet Inc.’s Google, General Electric Co., and JetBlue Airways Corp. warned in a brief to the court that without affirmative action they’ll lose access to ‘a pipeline of highly qualified future workers and business leaders’ — and will struggle to meet diversity hiring goals they’ve set.”
Race-conscious affirmative action with the goal of achieving widespread diversity is deeply ingrained in most elite institutions, not just universities. In her 2003 opinion, O’Connor said that “in order to cultivate a set of leaders with legitimacy in the eyes of the citizenry, it is necessary that the path to leadership be visibly opened to talented and qualified individuals of every race and ethnicity.”
Bloomberg columnist NOAH FELDMAN, who teaches law at Harvard, recently noted that it was Bakke, and the Supreme Court’s long history upholding it, that helped mainstream this diversity gospel.
What’s going to happen when SCOTUS rips up its foundation?
So if Corporate America can no longer find a few qualified candidates, corner offices are going to remain white and male. As Jeebus intended.
The Republican Project to return the United States to an ersatz 1950s continues apace.