ACLU Comment on Upcoming SCOTUS Oral Arguments Challenging Race-Conscious Admissions Policies

October 27, 2022 3:00 pm

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments this upcoming Monday, Oct. 31st, in two cases challenging race-conscious admissions policies, commonly known as affirmative action. The two cases are Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina, and in both cases the organization Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) is seeking the elimination of all race-conscious admissions practices.

The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Massachusetts, and the ACLU of North Carolina filed an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to uphold universities’ ability to consider race in college admissions. In support of Harvard University and the University of North Carolina, the ACLU argues that colleges have an important interest in student body diversity that furthers the values of academic freedom and equal protection. For this reason, the Supreme Court should uphold the ability of institutions of higher education to consider race in a holistic review during the admissions process.

The following are comments from:

ReNika Moore, director of the ACLU Racial Justice Program: “Race-conscious admissions practices help create a diverse student body that benefits the educational experiences of all students. Time and again, lower courts and the Supreme Court have recognized universities’ ability to consider race in the admissions process in order to help foster this. The Supreme Court must uphold this precedent and protect universities’ ability to consider race in the admissions process.”

Traci Griffith, director of the Racial Justice Program at the ACLU of Massachusetts: “Student body diversity, including racial diversity, serves a vital educational function not just for students, but the entire campus community. We urge the Supreme Court not to discount the value of diversity amid the historic and ongoing challenges of racial inequality in our country.”

Chantal Stevens, executive director of the ACLU of North Carolina: “Diversity plays a significant role in the growth, development, and support of student success in higher education and beyond. The more diverse and cross-cultural exposure a student experiences throughout college, the likelihood increases for that student to become an open-minded, tolerant, and thoughtful member of society. Additionally, race-conscious admissions help to redress practices rooted in North Carolina’s legacy of white supremacy and battles for integration across the state’s university system and will ensure students of all ethnicities have equitable access to post-secondary education.”

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