Companies Urge Supreme Court to Preserve Affirmative Action in Higher Ed

As the U.S. Supreme Court begins its 2022-2023 term, among the first cases it will take up are a pair of cases that challenge the future of affirmative action in higher education. The cases are Students for Fair Admissions v. President & Fellows of Harvard College and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina. Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) is asking the high Court to overrule its 2003 landmark decision of Grutter v. Bollinger, in which it held that the University of Michigan could consider race as part of its efforts to assemble a diverse student body. SFFA claims that affirmative action discriminates against Asian Americans. Lower courts have rejected SFFA’s challenges thus far.

In anticipation of the Supreme Court oral arguments, which are currently scheduled for October 31, 2022, businesses, universities, and law firms are submitting amicus briefs to the Court to support affirmative action at postsecondary institutions. Those in favor of affirmative action argue that the practice helps produce a more diverse pool of talent in the workforce.

For instance, more than 80 high-profile American companies, including Kraft, GE, Apple, American Airlines, Starbucks, and Procter & Gamble, filed a legal brief supporting affirmative action. In addition, eight top U.S. science companies, including DuPont and Gilead Sciences, filed a separate brief stressing the importance of a racially diverse campus.

A coalition of higher education groups also filed a brief supporting affirmative action. They contend that disallowing the consideration of race in college admissions would violate their academic freedom and discriminate against applicants who relate their life experiences to their race or ethnicity. Fifteen legal industry groups, including the American Bar Association (ABA), also submitted briefs requesting the Court to uphold affirmative action, citing the contribution that the practice has made to increasing diversity in the legal profession.

A total of 65 House Democrats, led by Rep. Bobby Scott, chair of the House Education and Labor Committee, signed off on a brief asking the Supreme Court to reject the SFFA’s challenges to affirmative action.

14 Republican Senators and more than 50 Republican members of the House of Representatives have filed a brief urging the Supreme Court to end affirmative action in higher education. In their brief, the legislators explicitly claim that the discriminatory practices of affirmative action victimize Asian Americans.

As a reminder, employers who do business with the federal government should know their duties and obligations to create affirmative action programs for equal opportunity employment. These programs ensure workforce diversity, indicate whether minorities or women are underrepresented, and show whether federal contractors are exhibiting good faith efforts to correct any signs of underrepresentation.

HBL has experience in all areas of benefits and employment law, offering a comprehensive solution to all your business benefits and HR/employment needs. We help ensure you are in compliance with the complex requirements of ERISA and the IRS code, as well as those laws that impact you and your employees. Together, we reduce your exposure to potential legal or financial penalties. Learn more by calling 470-571-1007.

The following two tabs change content below.

Hall Benefits Law, LLC

HBL offers employers comprehensive legal guidance on benefits in mergers and acquisitions, Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs), executive compensation, health and welfare benefits, healthcare reform, and retirement plans. We counsel a wide spectrum of clients including small, mid-sized, and large companies, 401(k) investment advisors, health insurance brokers, accountants, attorneys, and HR consultants, just to name a few. HBL is passionate about advising clients, and we are dedicated to our mission: to provide comprehensive, personalized, and practical ERISA and benefits legal solutions that exceed client expectations.

Latest posts by Hall Benefits Law, LLC (see all)

%d bloggers like this: