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The Supreme Court, defining diversity, and the future of affirmative action

Students throw their caps in the air ahead of their graduation ceremony at the Royal Festival Hall in London, England.
Students throw their caps in the air ahead of their graduation ceremony at the Royal Festival Hall in London, England.

On Monday, the Supreme Court justices engaged in a 5-hour debate over the future of affirmative action. The discussion stemmed from two separate lawsuits filed by a nonprofit called Students for Fair Admissions against the University of North Carolina and Harvard University.

The cases argue the schools’ affirmative action admission protocols are discriminatory against Asian Americans. 

Affirmative action has been protected under Supreme Court precedent for twenty years. But watchers of the high court believe the policy could be doomed under the current conservative supermajority.

Affirmative action lacks broad public support. A Pew Research poll released in 2022 found that 74 percent of Americans think race and ethnicity should not be considered in admissions decisions.

We talk to our panel about the history of affirmative action, its legal basis, and the potential impact a Supreme Court ruling could have on hiring practices based on race.

Copyright 2022 WAMU 88.5

Chris Remington