Supreme Court leans toward ending affirmative action in college admissions

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Supreme Court leans toward ending affirmative action in college admissions

The court’s conservative majority could prohibit consideration of race in admissions, a policy that colleges and universities say is essential to ensure diversity on campus.

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Oct. 31, 2022, 4:00 AM PDT / Updated Oct. 31, 2022, 1:59 PM PDT

By Lawrence Hurley

WASHINGTON — Conservative Supreme Court justices indicated Monday that they are willing to end the explicit consideration of race in college admissions as they weighed cases challenging affirmative action policies at the University of North Carolina and Harvard University.

Members of the court’s conservative majority questioned the legal rationale for allowing the practice and probed to what extent colleges and universities could enact new “race neutral” admissions policies aimed at improving racial diversity. Some justices, however, indicated they would be willing to allow applicants to discuss their racial identities in some form as part of essays touching upon their experiences, such as examples of overcoming discrimination.

Liberal justices, who are in the minority, defended the use of race in admissions, citing the importance of diversity on campus and the difficulty of achieving it without any consideration of race.

Affirmative action, introduced to redress historic discrimination, has been a contentious issue for years, strongly supported by educational institutions and corporate America as being vital to fostering diversity and condemned by conservatives as being antithetical to the notion that racial equality means all races are treated the same.

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