Posted BY: Robert Weissberg
The Supreme Court will soon decide the legality of racial preferences in higher education, In Students for Fair Admission Inc. v. President & Fellows of Harvard College, the plaintiffs contend that Harvard University (and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, in a separate case) violated Title VI of the US Civil Right Act of 1964 that prohibits racial discrimination for institutions receiving federal funds. Given the clear statistical evidence that both schools favored blacks over Asians and the Court’s current conservative majority, the Asian plaintiff Students for Fair Admission, will most likely prevail. Opponents of preferences are thus hoping that at long last U.S. higher education will restore meritocracy in college admissions.
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Unfortunately, the likely judicial victory will change little, and conceivably make matters worse. Giving African Americans an extra boost in everything from exams for police officers to awarding government contracts to admission to elite schools is now hard-wired into our national DNA. Past efforts to curtail such preferences whether by elections or judicial decrees have fallen short, and this current effort will similarly fail.