A group of students who disagree with how some colleges use race to determine which applicants to accept will take their case to the country’s highest court.
The Supreme Court on Monday announced it had granted lawsuits to review lower court decisions from students on fair admissions in cases involving the University of North Carolina and Harvard University.
The individual cases were merged and one hour was later set aside for oral argument.
The Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution and Title VI mean that schools cannot use race in the admissions process, according to court petitions.
“The same Fourteenth Amendment that required public schools to desegregate after Brown university administrators cannot be intimidated by the dictates of university administrators,” the petitioners said, citing the 1954 Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education, which held that “separate but equal” institutions violate the Fourteenth Amendment.
Harvard and the University of North Carolina have acknowledged the use of race as a factor in admissions decisions, but argue that this consideration does not violate federal law or the Constitution.
North Carolina Joshua Stein and Solicitor General Ryan Park, responding on behalf of the latter, said the college “flexibly considers race as only one of numerous factors in its holistic admissions process” and does so in accordance with the legal precedent set by earlier decisions of the Supreme Court. court.
Federal district judges ruled in favor of the universities, and those decisions were upheld by the appellate courts.
The Harvard University lawyer declined to comment on the Supreme Court’s actions.
Lawyers for the University of North Carolina and Students for Fair Enrollment did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
In a petition filing, the student group said the admissions practice affects thousands of college applicants each year and should be stopped.
“A cornerstone of our national civil rights laws is the principle that a person’s race should not be used to help or harm his life endeavors. We hope the Supreme Court will use the Harvard and UNC cases to begin rebuilding a color blindness legal treaty that unites Americans of all races and ethnicities,” said group president Edward Bloom at the time.