Debate on the Further Usage of Affirmative Action

It was a difficult day for affirmative action at the US supreme court on Monday, as the justices heard arguments in two cases that could have a major impact on the use of race in college admissions.

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The court is considering challenges to admissions programs at the University of North Carolina and Harvard University that both use race as one of several factors in seeking a diverse student body.

In addition, the court appeared to be divided along ideological lines, with the more conservative justices raising sceptical questions about the programs and the more liberal justices defending them.

That could mean that affirmative action is seriously jeopardised at the nation’s highest court.

The University of North Carolina case centres on a state law that bars public universities from using race as a factor in admissions. The Harvard case challenges using race as a “plus factor” in admissions but does not seek to ban it outright.

At issue in both cases is whether affirmative action programs are still needed to ensure diversity on college campuses. Proponents of the programs say they are necessary to ensure that minority students have equal access to higher education.

Opponents of the programs say they are no longer needed and discriminate against white and Asian-American students.

Affirmative

Justices across the ideological spectrum seemed sceptical of the programs, with even some of the court’s more liberal members questioning whether they are truly necessary.

If the programs are struck down, efforts to promote diversity on college campuses would be a major setback. Opponents of affirmative action argue that it is unfair and that race should not be a factor in admissions decisions.

According to reports from the court, Justice Anthony Kennedy – often the decisive vote in close cases – appeared to be leaning towards the side of the challengers. His voice will likely be crucial in deciding the outcome of these cases.

The supreme court is expected to issue a ruling in both cases by June.

What do you think of the court’s questioning?

Do you think affirmative action programs are still necessary? Why or why not?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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