Supreme Court Rules Against Affirmative Action in Harvard College Admissions: A Glance at the Case

Supreme Court Rules Against Affirmative Action in Harvard College Admissions: A Glance at the Case

In a groundbreaking decision, the United States Supreme Court delivered its opinion on June 29, 2023, in the highly anticipated case of Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College (Docket: 20-1199). Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. penned the majority opinion, declaring that the admissions processes of Harvard College and the University of North Carolina (UNC) violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. This landmark ruling has sparked widespread debate and profound implications for the future of affirmative action in college admissions.

The Court recognized the standing of Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. (SFFA), a voluntary membership organization advocating for fair and unbiased admissions practices. This ruling reaffirms the right of organizations to challenge affirmative action policies on behalf of their members.

The Court emphasized the Equal Protection Clause's role in combating racial bias and the strict scrutiny test it demands for any racial classification. While prior decisions have upheld race-based admissions as a temporary measure, the Court now casts doubt on their continued viability of the two affirmative action programs used by the tow prestigious universities in their college admissions.

The Court scrutinized the admissions programs of Harvard College and UNC, finding that both institutions failed to demonstrate a meaningful connection between their means and sought goals. The lack of clear measurability raised concerns about the efficacy and fairness of the admissions processes.

The Court condemned the programs' use of race as a "negative" factor in admissions, perpetuating stereotypes and demeaning generalizations. This approach undermines the principles of equality and fairness.

The Court stressed the need for clear boundaries and a transition away from using race as a factor in admissions. The absence of such limits raises concerns about the perpetuation of race-based discrimination.

The Supreme Court's decision represents a seismic shift in the legal landscape surrounding affirmative action in college admissions. While the ruling does not prohibit considering an applicant's discussion of how race affected their life, it calls for a more individualized and holistic approach. Universities must focus on an applicant's achievements, challenges overcome, skills developed, and lessons learned, rather than solely on their race.

With this landmark decision, the Supreme Court has set a clear standard for universities to reassess their admissions processes. It calls for a shift towards a fair and inclusive admissions process that considers each applicant's unique experiences and contributions. This ruling serves as a significant milestone in shaping the future of affirmative action policies, sparking debates about equal opportunity and diversity in higher education. Ultimately, it paves the way for a more just and equitable admissions system for all.



This blog does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, it is for general informational purposes only.  The information presented in this blog may not reflect the most up-to-date legal developments and is subject to change at any point in time.   The information presented in this blog does not create an attorney-client relationship.  Readers of this blog should contact their attorney to obtain advice regarding any particular legal matter.  No readers should act or refrain from acting based on the information presented in this blog without first seeking legal advice from counsel in the relevant jurisdiction.  No representations are made that this blog is error-free.  Altaffer & Chen PLLC expressly disclaims all liabilities arising from any actions taken or refrained from based on the information presented in this blog.


Contact Information: 


4054 McKinney Ave

Suite 310

Dallas, TX 75204

Tel: (972) 234 3633

Fax: (972) 947 3663


WeChat ID: Altafferlaw; altafferchen


There are no related articles!