Supreme Court Affirmative Action Cases: What Happens Next?
Last week, I participated in a panel with the ACLU of Michigan on affirmative action at the University of Michigan, the University of Mississippi and other schools and colleges across the nation. This week, I will be back on the panel for a second time, but this time to discuss the second round of cases in the Supreme Court’s “Bakke” case. Since last week, the Supreme Court has heard argument in three different cases involving affirmative action, the first two involving Harvard and the University of Michigan, and the third one involving Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania.
Both the University of Michigan and Harvard filed briefs in these cases. The Harvard brief was written by Harvard Law School Professor Richard Sander, and the University of Michigan brief was written by Harvard Law School Professor Theodore Lowi. When the Supreme Court agrees or concurs with a position stated by any one of its justices in a given case, it is said to have taken the case. The Supreme Court rarely agrees (and we are not counting yesterday’s decision on a Louisiana case where the court took a position that was out of step with the views that were expressed by the court’s other justices). But when the Supreme Court does agree with one of its justices in a case, that is a big deal; indeed our law firm has been involved in cases involving the Supreme Court since the 1930s and in every case that the Supreme Court does agree with one of its justices in which we have been involved, we have obtained an opinion favorable to plaintiffs in those cases. In this case, two of the three justices of the Supreme Court agreed with us, so we have been highly pleased by that. Moreover, it is the first time that we have taken the Supreme Court’s position in a case that we had helped to write. Our firm is pleased to have been able to assist the University of Michigan and Harvard in these two important cases, which the Supreme Court is going to hear next.
I’ll be returning to that discussion of the Third Circuit’s decision in the case of Princeton vs. New Jersey today in a little more detail, but for now let’s