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Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. Harvard/UNC

Overview

Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) is a non-profit organization that opposes racial classifications and preferences in higher education admissions. SFFA is headed by Edward Blum, who was also behind the previous race-conscious college admissions case, Fisher v. University of Texas

In 2014, SFFA brought federal lawsuits against both Harvard College and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), alleging that their use of race considerations in the admissions process violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (raised against both Harvard and UNC) and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment (only raised against UNC). Harvard College prevailed at both the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts and on appeal in the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, and the Supreme Court of the United States granted certiorari. UNC prevailed at the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, and the Supreme Court of the United States granted certiorari before judgment in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

The Supreme Court consolidated the Harvard and UNC cases on January 24, 2022. On July 22, 2022, after Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson was sworn in, the Supreme Court de-consolidated the cases due to Justice Jackson's tenure on the Harvard Board of Overseers, with Justice Jackson recusing herself from the Harvard case but sitting for the UNC case.

The Supreme Court oral argument for these cases took place on Monday, October 31, 2022.