Should colleges and universities continue to be allowed to discriminate against white and Asian applicants in favor of black and brown ones? The Supreme Court is considering taking up a case from a group suing Harvard to require the educational institution to treat people equally regardless of their race, and the Court has just delayed the case indefinitely. The justices were expected to announce their decision on taking the case but instead issued a request to the U.S. Solicitor General to weigh in. Given that they provided no deadline for his submission, it’s fair to say the high court is in no rush to take this case. So, in the meantime, it seems one of the most potent features of an applicant is not a student’s scholastic achievements but race.
Waiting for Justice …
Court watchers were stymied June 14 when the justices decided, once again, to avoid a decision. Previously, the Court had announced the case was to be discussed at its June 10 conference, so observers expected to hear acceptance or denial soon thereafter. However, the Court had other plans. Instead, it asked for another opinion from the Solicitor General of the United States (SG). The order said:
“The Acting Solicitor General is invited to file a brief in this case expressing the views of the United States.”
Indicating no timeline for the SG may not bode well for white and Asian students hoping for a more prompt answer on their racial discrimination case. The SG’s office, under the Trump administration, has expressed already its views in this matter. In the First Circuit Court of Appeals, the SG argued Harvard’s consideration of race violated the constitutional rights of applicants not to be judged by the color of their skin. President Joe Biden may order his acting SG to countermand the argument made by Trump’s SG.
Why Bring on the President’s Politician/Lawyer
The actions of the Obama Administration favored legal race discrimination, provided it favored black and brown people. President Trump and his SG argued the law requires race-neutral admissions and that discriminating against whites and Asians was illegal. How will it help the Court decide the case to hear that President Biden’s SG also favors allowing racial discrimination? Beyond the delay, it’s hard to understand. As legal commentator Mike Sacks put it “TRANSLATION: ‘Please waste a few thousand words advising us to decline a case we fully intend to hear.’”
Biden’s acting solicitor general is Elizabeth Prelogar. He has not yet nominated a candidate for the position, which will undergo Senate confirmation. Reports indicate the decision may be delayed because the administration is having difficulty finding a candidate of a preferred race to take the position.
Read more from Scott D. Cosenza.