What happens if the Supreme Court guts affirmative action?

The Supreme Court on Monday heard arguments on whether colleges and universities can continue to consider race when they decide what applicants to admit. Edward Blum, president of Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA), led the challenges, saying Harvard’s admissions policy discriminates against Asian Americans, and UNC’s gives Black and Hispanic applicants unfair advantages. Chief Justice John Roberts, long skeptical about affirmative action, and other members of the newly strengthened 6-3 conservative majority appeared open to ending the policies, questioning whether letting colleges consider race is legal and constitutional.  
Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar argued that overturning court precedents allowing schools to view race as one factor in admissions decisions would have “profound consequences” on “the nation that we are and the nation that we aspire to be,” and make it harder to educate diverse new national leaders. Liberal justices defended affirmative-action policies, noting the benefits of diversity on college campuses and the importance of countering historic discrimination. The court is expected to rule next June. What will happen if the Supreme Court strikes down affirmative action in college admissions?
Ending affirmative action in college admissions would be disastrous
The Supreme Court’s landmark 2003 Grutter v. Bollinger decision established that “the University of Michigan’s law-school-admission policy was constitutional because it was narrowly tailored” to help the school attain a diverse student body, say Columbia University President Lee Bollinger and University of Chicago law professor Geoffrey Stone in The Atlantic. The court found that affirmative action was constitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal-protection clause. The efforts to “create equal opportunity and remediate past injustice through affirmative action” have worked, driving progress for Black Americans who now hold senior positions in “courts, universities, and corporations.” But let’s admit “the irrefutable truth that in contemporary America, Black students’ educational opportunities vis-à-vis other groups remain separate and unequal.”
Striking down affirmative action in college admissions now will leave the job of establishing a fair system undone. Black students still are less likely than their white counterparts to have access to college-preparatory math and science classes. Black males are twice as likely as white males to quit school. “Consequently, getting into college, competing once there, and graduating four years later is a harder slog for Black students.” If the court guts affirmative action and stops schools from valuing things like “leadership qualities, personal talents, race and ethnicity, and family circumstances” to build diverse student bodies, “Black students won’t just remain at the back of the line in American life; they will be pushed even further back.”
The damage will extend far beyond college campuses
A ruling against considering race in college admissions won’t just mean “major changes for higher education, but for private corporations as well,” says Noah Feldman at Bloomberg. “Elite employers recruit from elite universities. If those universities become less racially diverse, then the companies that recruit heavily from them — particularly those in tech, finance, law, accounting, and consulting — may as well.” And companies pursuing diversity will no longer be chasing an objective “blessed by the courts. Rather, racial diversity will be an objective the Supreme Court has rejected.” 
This could be a problem for companies, many of which have come to believe that “more diverse companies achieve better financial results.” If the Supreme Court throws out affirmative action in higher education, “an employer that seeks diversity along the lines of any category protected by Title VII workplace anti-discrimination law — which includes race, sex, religion, and national origin — will be running the risk of being held liable for unlawful discrimination.” 
Taking a step toward a colorblind society would help everyone
If the high court rules that race-based college admissions “violate the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection of the laws and the 1964 Civil Rights Act’s prohibition of racial discrimination by recipients of federal funding,” says George Will in The Washington Post, “the court can bolster the wholesome belief held by a large, diverse American majority: that the nation’s laws should be colorblind.” This would be a balm to “a nation saturated with the racial obsessions that identity politics encourage, especially on campuses.” 
As Chief Justice John Roberts put it in a 2006 congressional redistricting case, what this nation needs is to move beyond the “sordid business” of “divvying us up by race.” But don’t expect a ruling against affirmative action to stop universities from trying to tip the scales, like the University of Michigan’s law school did by considering race as part of a “‘holistic’ evaluation of applicants.” “If SFFA wins, universities will accelerate their abandonment of standardized tests (e.g., the SAT). This will help institutions hide discriminatory practices in an opaque ‘holistic’ process.”
This will affect admissions at elite schools the most
There is no exhaustive list of how much every college and university uses affirmative action in their admissions programs, says Donald E. Heller in Politico. But the practice is most common at the nation’s most selective public and private universities. “Universities will likely attempt to find race-neutral ways to maintain their enrollments of historically underrepresented students. But there is only so much that can be done.” 
Under the 2003 Grutter v. Bollinger decision, universities are supposed to “use race-conscious admissions to promote student body diversity” only if “race-neutral alternatives don’t work,” says Renu Mukherjee in The New York Times. Ignoring this step puts a university on the wrong side of the Constitution. Harvard and UNC could try to meet their goals with race-neutral options, such as eliminating preferences for legacies and the children of donors, or increasing preferences for low-income applicants, but they “have never seriously tried to meet this burden.”
Upending “decades of precedent on affirmative action” would have a big impact on college admissions, say Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux and Zoha Qamar at FiveThirtyEight, but it won’t trigger the same public outrage that erupted when the Supreme Court’s conservative supermajority overturned Roe v. Wade’s abortion protections. An early October Washington Post/Schar School poll found that nearly two-thirds of Americans support both promoting diversity on campus and banning colleges and universities from considering race and ethnicity in admissions decisions. “That’s because affirmative action is unpopular, even though Americans do want there to be diversity in higher education.” 

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Will Bernie Sanders run for president in 2024?

Speculation continues to mount about President Biden’s potential re-election bid in 2024. While Biden has reportedly confirmed he will run for a second term, eyes have shifted to other possible candidates to take up the mantle for the Democrats if the president changes his mind. This would potentially open the door for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to launch a White House bid for the third time. The democratic socialist remains highly popular among the younger generations, but he is also among the eldest candidates — older even than Biden, at 81 years old.
What are the chances that, if Biden opts out of the next campaign, an announcement could come for a Sanders 2024 run? Here’s everything you need to know:
Has Sanders said anything to indicate he’s running?
Given that Sanders has run for president twice before, the Vermont senator has been asked a number of times if he plans to gear up for attempt number three next year. However, Sanders has remained mostly quiet about his upcoming plans, and whether or not they include a presidential run. 
Sanders told CBS Mornings in September “I haven’t made that decision” when asked if he planned to run. He also told CNN over the summer that he would not primary the president if he decides to run again, adding, “If [Biden] runs again, I will support him.”
Beyond these brief comments, Sanders has shied away from speaking about 2024, instead focusing on raising awareness about Democratic issues ahead of the upcoming midterms. 
What challenges would a Sanders 2024 campaign face?
Sanders is one year older than Biden, who was already the oldest person to be elected president when he took office nearly two years ago. Sanders, though, would be 83 on Election Day 2024 — meaning he’d be 87 when his hypothetical first term ended in 2028. 
Just as people have brought up concerns about Biden’s advanced age, there would likely be similar rhetoric around Sanders if he launches a campaign. However, the octogenarian has downplayed concerns about age, telling CBS Mornings in the same interview that it was more important to look at the individual candidate than make generalizations about age. 
“What I think we do is we look too much at race, at gender, at age,” Sanders said during the interview. “What does somebody stand for? What are their views? Do you agree with them? Are they standing with you?”
“And obviously you want people who are competent, capable, and have the energy to be president of the United States … I would say, first of all, take a look at what people stand for,” he added. 
How would the Democratic Party respond to Sanders running for president again?
The Democratic Party and the Democratic National Committee have often found themselves at odds with Sanders, who is actually an independent — the longest-serving independent in Senate history — despite being a large proponent of Democratic and liberal issues. 
This clash between Sanders and the DNC particularly came to the forefront in 2016, when he was in the middle of a fierce primary battle with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. It was eventually revealed that the DNC had criticized and derided Sanders’ campaign in thousands of leaked emails. Sanders consistently claimed the committee was biased against his candidacy.
Accusations of similar derailing were also seen during Sanders’ subsequent 2020 campaign, in which he at one point appeared to be the likely Democratic nominee. However, Politico reported on a potential plan by the DNC to try and weaken Sanders’ surging campaign. 
The DNC dismissed these accusations in 2020, but it is likely to have caused further bad blood between the committee and Sanders, particularly after what happened in 2016. Given the previous anti-Sanders sentiment, though, it is possible that the DNC would be wary of yet another Sanders campaign. 
Do voters want Sanders to run?
Sanders remains popular among prospective 2024 voters from both parties. A USA Today/IPSOS poll published this past August found that 46 percent of those surveyed saw him as a favorable candidate — higher than both President Biden and former President Donald Trump. 
That poll also had Sanders as the highest-rated Democrat among independent voters at 41 percent; even 18 percent of Republican voters saw him as favorable. More than two-thirds of Democrats also support the senator, with a 78 percent favorability rating. 
The poll, which interviewed 2,345 voting-eligible adults and had a 2.5 percent margin of error, also found that Sanders was the most favored among a list of 23 potential candidates. This saw Sanders beating out heavyweight names such as Vice President Kamala Harris and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). 
So … will he run?
Many within Sanders’ own circle believe he may enter the race. The senator’s aides sent out a memo this past April in which they wrote, “In the event of an open 2024 Democratic presidential primary, Sen. Sanders has not ruled out another run for president.” The memo also claimed Sanders was “the most popular office holder in the country right now.”
Politico also noted that even with the presidential election two years away, Sanders “remains popular, is the undisputed leader of the progressive left, and … he must be part of any conversation about a potential open Democratic presidential primary.”

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