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Story Publication logo October 10, 2022

Can Race be a Factor in College Admissions? SCOTUS Reconsiders Affirmative Action.

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The United States' Supreme Court Facade
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The Supreme Court is considering two cases involving colleges’ use of race as a factor in choosing a...

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Video by Retro Report. United States, 2022.

The Supreme Court considers new arguments challenging admissions practices that colleges use to select a diverse student body.


The Supreme Court is considering two cases involving colleges’ use of race as a factor in creating a diverse student body. For decades, the Court has upheld this type of affirmative action, most recently in a ruling in 2016. Now, in one case on the Court’s docket, Harvard is accused of discriminating against Asian Americans. A second case, against the University of North Carolina, argues that the university gave unfair preference to Black, Native and Hispanic students, putting white and Asian applicants at a disadvantage. In both cases, the universities have defended their admissions practices, citing past Supreme Court rulings that support the use of race as a factor. A decision in these two new cases could come in the spring of 2023.

In this video, Retro Report looks at an important test case in 2003, when Justice Sandra Day O’Connor cast the crucial vote to uphold such policies despite her concerns about unintended consequences.

This video was released in collaboration with Pulitzer CenterThe Hechinger Report and WCNY/PBS.

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