Life After Affirmative Action

Will colleges still maintain diversity when they have to make sacrifices for it?

In Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Immigration Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary (BAMN) et al., the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Michigan’s ban on racial preferences in state-college admissions. Similar bans in California, Florida, and other states appear safe from challenge, and more states will be encouraged to adopt similar measures. As for the future of other states’ racial-preference programs in higher education, which were most recently blessed by the Court in the Grutter decision (2003), it is quite possible that, as Justice Scalia noted in his Schuette concurrence, “Grutter’s bell may soon toll,” meaning the Court may decide that the allowable period for using discrimination to make up for past discrimination has ended. Were such a ruling to occur, virtually all institutions of higher education, even private colleges that receive federal funds and are therefore barred from discriminating under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, would be prohibited from using racial preferences in admissions.

What would a world without racial preferences look like?


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