NICK EICHER, PRESIDENT: It’s Monday, November 7th.
Thank you for today’s edition The Universe and everything in it. Hi, I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD, DEPUTY: I’m Mary Reichard. So tomorrow is election day!
I can tell you where I am. World Election Center at wng.org/election. That’s where we show live updates and interactive maps on each Senate, House and governor’s panel.
Plus results on major state election measures. And news from our WORLD team all in one place.
EICHER: Wng.org/election for our 2022 election center.
It’s time for the Constitution.
It is rare for the Supreme Court to overturn one of its precedents. And that’s because in most cases, the court’s decisions are fair and legally binding, even if each decision causes a dark party.
According to statistics, the number of previous students is 99.5 percent.
And in that half of cases that don’t, it’s a big deal–like the defeat of Roe versus Wade.
And today, there may be more news: we have two friendly cases from this phase, and a party will also ask the Court to cancel the previous procedure. The current focus is on improving school facilities.
REICHARD: The two cases: Students for Civil Rights v. University of North Carolina and Students for Civil Rights v. Harvard.
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson recused himself from the Harvard case. He attended graduate school and law school there and served on Harvard’s Board of Overseers. So he only participated in oral arguments in the University of North Carolina case.
EICHER: Normally the court hears oral arguments in these cases. It happened a week ago today in a five-hour marathon event. Our Washington, DC, legal reporter Jenny Rough was there to hear it all in person.
JENNY ROUGH, GUEST: Hello, Nick and Mary.
Well, you know me. I like to spoof Supreme Court debates and talk about being stupid: now I’m going to give you some Supreme Court quotes that will quickly get a little Supreme Court stuff. The US Postal Service has announced that the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will be featured on a postage stamp, making her the first woman to appear.
REICHARD: Right, because, more specifically here, the first judge on the stamp was former Chief Justice John Marshall. In 1894, he was on the $5 stamp. Twelve judges have been featured since then.
EICHER: A five dollar stamp. I’ll give you both a little something. Are you wondering what five dollars is worth today? (Not written in text.)
Can you imagine a stamp worth that much? I looked at it this way: I can send you a 60-pound package for two days, just slap Chief Justice Marshall on it, and we’re good to go. (You women started it, let’s just say.)
ROUGH: Some of the funniest stuff there.
Well, to the cases now. UNC—the University of North Carolina—and Harvard College are considered one of the many factors when deciding to enroll students. Schools say many different types of students can benefit academically.
Students for Justice were sued. That organization believes that people should not harm or help a student to get into higher education.
REICHARD: It was called a 2003 Supreme Court case Grutter v. Bollinger says it’s good for schools to use race in the overall evaluation of each applicant. But its use should only take place for a great need. Now, the students are asking for proper access to the court to dismiss that 2003 case. So how did it go?
ROUGH: Very interesting! The judges asked different questions about diversity!
First, the court heard the case against the University of North Carolina.
UNC is a state school, so the analysis is different than Harvard’s. For a public school, the legal question is whether the admissions policy violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s immunity clause. It states that the government cannot deprive people of equal protection under the law.
Patrick Strawbridge advocated for students for fair admission.
STRAWBRIDGE: Racial classification is wrong. Whatever factors the government uses to decide who sits on the bench, who you marry, or what elementary schools our children can attend, skin color is not one of them. The Grutter is a notable exception to this rule. The Court shall dismiss it.
An important list of questions he asked about the proposal essay.
Judge Amy Coney Barrett asked him if the admissions policies were race-neutral, according to his client, and how the school would handle an applicant who spoke about race in the essay?
BARRETT: And I want to know if you think the world if a student writes an essay that describes some of the experiences that Justice Sotomayor said, you know, I argued with socioeconomic disparity, racial prejudice, the things that make me who I am. Do you think in the world, can a university consider that without violating the Equal Protection Clause?
STRAWBRIDGE: Yes. It seems to me that this court’s precedents hold that the duty to eliminate discrimination is specific and separate from race. What we are against is thinking about the people and the people only.
BARRETT: Race in a box-checking way as opposed to race in an experiential narrative?
STRAWBRIDGE: The record in this case is that they can only mark it on the check of the box.
Ryan Park argued for the University of North Carolina. And when the school is looking for a student body you’d think, diverse!
PARK: This learning environment helps us to find truth, to build bridges across students of different backgrounds, and to be critical here, to equip students with the tools they need to excel. and serve as citizens and leaders in our increasingly complex and diverse society.
The judges asked him about when and how to replace the school’s racial policy with a public one. Despite the Message The case said it was a good idea about race because one of the many things it said was that it was supposed that schools would have a non-racial policy in 25 years. That would be six years from now.
Justice Brett Kavanaugh asked about that.
KAVANAUGH: The idea isn’t to say until you get to a point where you’re satisfied that the difference has been made, or something simple like that. It says 25 years there. So I’d like to hear how you would address that part of the Grutter formula, because as far as I understand your answer, you’re going to go beyond 25 years indefinitely.
PARK: We don’t read 25-years as a kind of expiration. I think every industry in every state will be different.
Next, the Harvard case. Harvard is a private school. This is not a 14th amendment issue. This dispute arose under title VI of the Civil Rights Act. It prohibits discrimination based on race for schools that receive federal funding. It is a similar legal question. Different rules.
Harvard is very special: For 1600 places, Harvard considers 61,000 applicants. That means 97 percent will be rejected.
Cameron Norris advocated for Students for Fair Access. He said that if Harvard really wants diversity, it should eliminate its preference for the children of the rich and the children of alumni, the so-called “legacies.”
NORRIS: Harvard is no different. Harvard is 82 percent wealthy. There are 23 wealthy students for every low-income student.
Here he is in conversation with Justice Sonia Sotomayor about how non-government policy can change things.
NORRIS: We have a racial disparity in this case that takes into account socioeconomic status and forces Harvard to relinquish its legacy interests to the majority. The number of Asians in the camp increased; the number of Hispanics on campus increased; the number of minorities in school will increase.
SOTOMAYOR: Black will not rise.
NORRIS: It’s about 10 percent black eye.
Justice Sotomayor later asked what the school was doing with so many qualified applicants?
SOTOMAYOR: If you have perfect grades in every measure, you don’t have a chance at Harvard because they have so many people with perfect grades in every background that they outclass their class. And you’re saying that a school can’t look at its overall diversity statistics and say, among equal applicants, I can make race a tiebreaker if the numbers on it are too low. stomach? You say no, you can’t.
NORRIS: No, you can’t do that.
Seth Waxman argued for Harvard. Chief Justice John Roberts returned to that bond analysis question.
WAXMAN: Take two African American candidates. Some of their views contribute to diversity from an Asian or white perspective, while others do not. But is it true that they are entitled to increased opportunities for inclusion simply based on skin color?
Waxman acknowledged that race is sometimes a factor in student enrollment.
ROBERTS: So we’re talking about race as a deciding factor in admissions to Harvard.
WAXMAN: The competition for a few highly qualified candidates is the reason, just as there is an oboe player in the year the Harvard-Radcliffe orchestra needs an oboe player at the end.
ROBERTS: We didn’t fight a Civil War over oboe players. We fought a Civil War to end racism. And that’s why it’s so worrying.
REICHARD: Oh! The CEO was fired right there! That’s another thing, Jenny!
ROUGH: Yeah, there’s a lot of realism there. There was a lot of controversy, and the importance of architecture was very favorable to the project.
Something really hit me when I walked in the house. You know, the Courthouse has museums and exhibits related to the law, it’s like a museum. After oral argument, I presented a testimony of Lady Justice. He kept his attention on me. His sword and scales and mask.
Covering the eyes indicates indifference. Don’t judge by appearance; not to be spared.
Eyes can be deceiving. In the oral argument, both sides seemed to agree that in an ideal world, integration policies would be non-racial.
But we live in a broken world. The question remains: How do we navigate race in college admissions when our society is so racially diverse? And since the people are so attached to customs, traditions and heritage?
I’m not sure color-blindness is the answer here, but I think Lady Justice might be on to something. It’s not that much visual inspection is required. Correct and correct decision-making takes knowledge.
REICHARD: Well, my friend Jenny Rough, and this week’s Law Form. Good stuff, Jenny!
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