U.S. Supreme Court Considers Ending Affirmative Action

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The conservative-majority Supreme Court signaled skepticism of affirmative action as justices heard arguments over race-conscious admissions policies at two universities, per NBC News.

On Monday (October 31), SCOTUS justices posed questions about admissions programs that consider race at the University of North Carolina (UNC) and Harvard University during nearly five hours of oral arguments.

The court's majority appeared to agree with arguments brought by a group called the Students for Fair Admissions, led by conservative activist Ed Blum, who argued that the schools had illegally weighed race when making decisions regarding admissions.

“What is your response to the simple argument that college admissions are a zero-sum game?” Justice Samuel Alito questioned an attorney representing the group of students backing race-conscious admissions. “And if you give a plus to a person who … falls within the category of underrepresented minority but not to somebody else, you’re disadvantaging the latter student?”

The court's three liberal justices appeared to support the group backing race-conscious admissions. Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman to serve on the nation's highest court, participated in the UNC case but recused herself for the Harvard one due to her past ties to the university.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor highlighted the disadvantages that Black applicants might have faced before applying for college.

"If you're Black, you're more likely to be in an under-resourced school, you're more likely to be taught by teachers who are not as qualified as others, you're more likely to be viewed as having less academic potential," Sotomayor said during the oral arguments.

The Supreme Court's ruling is due by the end of June.

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