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#CollegeChat: Is Affirmative Action on the Chopping Block?

Supreme Court of the United States

#CollegeChat “Hot Topics” is back February 28, 2012 at 9 p.m. Eastern and 6 p.m. Pacific. During “Hot Topics” we will be discussing the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision to revisit affirmative action. Specifically, the Court will consider the case of Abigail Fisher, a white woman, who is suing the University of Texas for denying her admission based in part on race.

In Adam Cohen’s article for Time Is the Supreme Court Going to Kill Affirmative Actionhe writes:

There are several reasons to believe this could be a Big Case. Affirmative-action critics are certainly talking that way. Ward Connerly, president of the American Civil Rights Institute, called the decision to take the case a “potentially historic step.” And it looks like there are at least four Justices ready to take bold action. But there is also reason to believe the court will stop short — weakening affirmative action but not ending it.

Furthermore, Cohen, a teacher at Yale Law School, argues:

If the Supreme Court strikes down UT’s admissions system, other public schools will have to re-evaluate their admissions policies — and other institutions, from private schools to employers, will likely rethink how they consider race. Affirmative action will not disappear overnight, but the Supreme Court’s conservative bloc appears to be intent on reducing the role it plays in university admissions — and other parts of society.

Finally, Scott Jaschik reported for Inside Higher Education in “Affirmative Action on the Docket”:

And the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., the civil rights leader, issued a statement noting the many disparities in American today that place black and Latino citizens at a disadvantage. “So long as these disparities exist, race must continue to be a one of several standards applied and taken into consideration in the pursuit of higher education,” he said. “Along with race, poverty, grades, ability to think and pay tuition, special skills and legacy – even military status – all of these ‘categories’ are taken into consideration during the college admissions process. So too should race and gender.”

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