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Justice John Roberts Calls Out Harvard “We Did Not Fight The Civil War About Oboe Players”

Supreme Court Justice John Roberts called out Harvard University’s race-conscious admissions policies in an oral argument over a lawsuit that decides whether the university’s use of affirmative action is constitutional.
by Reagan Reese 

Supreme Court Justice John Roberts called out Harvard University’s race-conscious admissions policies in an oral argument over a lawsuit that decides whether the university’s use of affirmative action is constitutional.

During the oral arguments of the case Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard, Roberts asked Harvard’s lawyer Seth Waxman if the university uses race as a determining factor during the admissions process. Waxman admitted that race is taken into consideration in the same way that “being an oboe player in a year in which the Harvard Radcliffe Orchestra needs an oboe player will be the tip.”

“We did not fight a civil war about oboe players,” Roberts replied to Waxman. “We did fight a civil war to eliminate racial discrimination. And that’s why it’s a matter of considerable concern. I think it’s important for you to establish whether or not granting a credit based solely on skin color is based on a stereotype when you say this brings diversity of viewpoint.”

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The Supreme Court heard oral arguments Monday to determine whether Harvard University and University of North Carolina (UNC) are unlawfully discriminating against white and Asian American students as a result of their race-based admission policies.

The court is considering whether to overrule the landmark case Grutter v. Bollinger, which permitted universities to use race-conscious admission policies in order to further diversity at their institutions.

Students for Fair Admissions, a non-profit that fights race-based policies, is suing both universities, arguing that UNC allegedly considers race in every aspect of its admissions process, giving preference to minority students. 

Harvard University allegedly uses its admissions policies to limit the number of minority students at the institution.

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