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Supreme Court Takes up Affirmative Action

U.S. Supreme Court

The Supreme Court is taking up two cases that could overturn major precedent on affirmative action.

The practice has been a standard in higher education for 40 years to increase diversity on college campuses, but now a conservative and multiracial coalition of 22,000 students and parents argues it's actually leading to discrimination.

The cases challenge policies at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina where race is among the criteria used in the admissions process.

Patrick Strawbridge, attorney for Students for Fair Admissions, argued before the court saying, "Some applicants are incentivized to conceal their race. Others who were admitted for merit have their accomplishments diminished by the assumption race played a role in their admissions... Racial classifications are wrong."

Ryan Park, Solicitor General for North Carolina, argued, "A university retains a powerful interest in preventing the backslide that would occur if this court took away this special social policy issue from the people of North Carolina."

The cases raise slightly different issues for the conservative-leaning court. Harvard's admissions policies are accused of discriminating against Asian Americans,
while the case against UNC argues considering race violates civil rights law and the Constitution. The court is expected to rule next year. 

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