Gutting Grutter: The Effect of the Loss of Affirmative Action on Diversity among Physicians
28 Pages Posted: 25 Aug 2022
Date Written: August 22, 2022
Over the last four decades, race-conscious admission policies have been the subject of heated judicial and social controversy. In 1978, in the case Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, the consideration of race was held to be permissible to serve the compelling interest of promoting diversity in higher education. Since then, this issue has come up before the Supreme Court several times.
In October of 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States will hear oral arguments in two cases— Students for Fair Admissions v. President & Fellows of Harvard College and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina. In the Harvard case, Students for Fair Admissions [SFFA], a conservative organization led by Edward Blum, argues that Harvard is discriminating against Asian American applicants, thereby violating Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. In both the Harvard and UNC cases, SFFA argues that the Supreme Court should overrule Grutter v. Bollinger, a case that cemented the proposition that narrowly tailored admission policies that consider race to achieve diversity are constitutional. On a second level SFFA argues that both Harvard’s and UNC’s policies are not sufficiently narrowly tailored due to their rejection of workable race-neutral alternatives.
Part I of this article will provide an overview on past litigation concerning affirmative action policies. Part II will discuss the two cases Students for Fair Admissions v. President & Fellows of Harvard College and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina which are up for consideration before the Supreme Court. Part III seeks to discuss the importance of diversity in the medical workforce, and the potential impacts of the SFFA lawsuit on medical practice. Part IV discusses arguments that may become important in these cases, potential outcomes of this litigation, and what the future of higher education looks like if race is prohibited from being considered in university admissions.
Keywords: Affirmative action, university admissions, Equal Protection Clause, Title VI, Bakke, Grutter
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