Affirmative action is next on the chopping block.
“Following the Supreme Court’s leak of a draft decision overturning Roe v. Wade, many Court-watchers and pundits have pointed to same-sex marriage and access to contraceptives as rights now potentially at risk. And while in the long run the logic set forth in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization could undermine those precedents, the Court may eviscerate other major areas of law far sooner—in fact, with cases on its docket this current term. Notably, the Court may soon declare the use of race in college admissions—affirmative action—illegal, and it may also massively constrain the power of the federal government to protect the environment.
The questions at hand in each case—Dobbs, Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard, and West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency—differ. But they all raise issues that have been the targets of conservative legal scholars for decades, and they will now be decided by a right-wing Court with seemingly little commitment to its own precedents.
The use of race in admissions has been permissible in the eyes of the Court since 1978, when Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr. delivered his opinion in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke.Allan Bakke, who was white, argued that he had been denied entry into UC Davis’s medical school because of its affirmative-action program, which reserved 16 of the 100 seats in each class for minority students—though the school contended that his age (35) and average test scores had more to do with his rejection. Powell ruled that race could be used in admissions in concert with a host of other factors—including grades, extracurricular activities, and test scores—to build a class, because diversity was an important interest of the state’s. As such, his decision was not about righting historical wrongs, but about diversity for the benefit of the entire campus community. Over the next 40 years, the decision was upheld time and again. …”