By Emil Guillermo
Those in higher education anticipate Supreme Court review of a lawsuit brought by some Asian Americans specifically recruited by anti-affirmative action legal groups determined to end racial preferences in college admissions , especially at Harvard.
Ending affirmative action would make it more difficult to achieve equity if underrepresented ethnic applicants could not be identified.
But the way the Supreme Court is made up gives the impression that affirmative action is dead. And not just at Harvard, but everywhere.
It also comes at a time when politics is still needed.
Harvard admissions notices were released last week, the numbers reveal not so much a problem with Asians, but a problem with Black and Latinx applicants.
The latest numbers for the incoming Class of 2026 show Asian Americans increased again to 27.8% from 27.2%.
African Americans have seen a decrease. New admissions represented 15.5% of the class, compared to 18%.
Latinx was at 12.6%, down from 13.3%.
Native Americans were at 2.9%, more than double the previous year’s 1.2%.
Native Hawaiians dropped from 0.8% to 0.6%.
Overall, incoming admissions are in line with the societal trend of minorities making up the majority, as the entire class is 59.6% Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) and Black. about 40% white.
But just as Harvard is becoming more diverse, the school has also become more exclusive with its acceptance rate at an all-time high of 3.19%.
Overall, 61,220 students applied to Harvard, compared to 57,435.
This means that 1,954 applicants received offers of admission. And 59,266 were refused.
I provide the numbers to give the context. Asian Americans are the largest percentage among BIPOC and they sue?
Meanwhile, declines in the Black and Latinx populations should be more alarming, especially if they occur when race can be used in admissions. What if racing was banned? Would we get double-digit drops?
Ted Cruz is neither a woman nor an Asian
During the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, you’ll recall how Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) indulged in bizarre assumptions about race and gender.
“According to modern left-wing sensibilities, if I decide now that I am a woman, then apparently I am a woman,” said Cruz, who is definitely not a woman, but used it to argue if he could. sue for discrimination.
Jackson correctly responded that because lawsuits over these matters are “dragging their way through the courts,” she was unable to comment.
But Cruz insisted, this time on racial discrimination, referring to the case of Asians challenging Harvard’s affirmative action policies. “Can I decide that I was an Asian man?” Cruz asked. “Would I have the ability to be an Asian male and challenge Harvard’s discrimination because I made this decision?”
Absurd once again. Ted Cruz is not Asian. He could file a complaint himself.
And again Jackson refused to answer because it’s a matter she could decide.
But then Cruz pondered the real question of whether Jackson, who had served on Harvard’s board of supervisors, would recuse himself from the upcoming SCOTUS review of the lawsuit brought by Asian American plaintiffs against Harvard’s admissions policies. Harvard.
And that’s where Jackson said she planned to recuse herself.
It was the news.
Jackson’s rise to the court as Breyer’s replacement does not change the political dynamic. 6-3 is still 6-3 when Breyer leaves and Jackson enters.
Yet the announcement of the planned recusal was only a stark reminder. Votes are simply not there to protect affirmative action.
A friend of mine, a former law school dean, started wondering aloud why Harvard hadn’t tried to settle the matter by changing the admissions policy.
His reasoning is sound. “Over the years, the challenges of the disparate impact of housing policies that were on their way to the Supreme Court were resolved because the civil rights community did not want to risk a major loss to the Supreme Court,” said said the former law school dean. “Better to settle a policy and settle with a litigant than to have a Supreme Court decision rendering an unfavorable law.”
The fact is, all schools will have to follow the advisory if it does end affirmative action policies.
“Institutionally they have to be in compliance and not just wait to be prosecuted,” my friend said.
If only Harvard had changed the policy that prevented even more Asians from being accepted (those who filed a lawsuit), then there would have been no SCOTUS ruling, and no nationwide impact.
But now the Supreme Court will hear the case in October and issue an opinion by June 2023.
Jackson makes history by being on the court. But there seems to be nothing she can do to save the policy that has provided real opportunities for BIPOC students for decades.
Emil Guillermo is a journalist and commentator. His web talk show is at Facebook.com/emilguillermo.media; Youtube; and [email protected] See recordings on www.amok.com