The Federalist: SCOTUS Can Uphold Either Race-Based College Admissions Or Constitutional Equality, Not Both

October 31, 2022 | By ALISON SOMIN, JOHN YOO
Harvard University gate

The Supreme Court will take up the case brought by Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) against Harvard and the University of North Carolina on Monday. SFFA simply asks that universities judge applicants on their individual achievements, rather than taking their skin color into account.

In virtually every other area of life, the Constitution and the federal civil rights laws forbid the government from using race as a plus or minus factor in making decisions. Government cannot use race to distribute government funds, provide benefits, deploy police, or run prisons or hospitals. Yet in Grutter v. Bollinger_, the justices decided to create a rare exception to the ban on government and government funding recipients’ use of race for admissions in higher education. A majority in _Grutter accepted the dubious claim that colleges could seek racial diversity as a proxy for intellectual diversity — which relies upon the pernicious assumption that certain races could only hold certain ideologies.

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