The Supreme Court announced Monday it will decide whether the use of race in the admissions process at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina violates civil rights law and the Constitution, reviving a controversial legal debate over affirmative action that has been years in the making.
The decision to hear the two cases puts the contentious issue of whether universities may consider race when accepting students before the high court for the first time 2016. Harvard acknowledges considering race in its admissions process, but says it does so as one of several factors – an approach that is consistent with the current legal standard.
By accepting the blockbuster case, the justices are adding another polarizing debate to a docket already full of culture war issues. Much of the court’s current term has been defined by abortion fights in Texas and Mississippi, gun regulations in New York and COVID-19 related battles, including the decision this month to block the Biden administration’s vaccine-or-testing requirements on large employers.
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