Justice Kagan suggests gender-neutral college admissions could give unfair advantage to ‘white men’

Reagan Reese, DCNF

Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan suggested that gender-neutral admission processes could give “white men” an advantage over people who have been “kicked in the teeth” during an oral argument Monday on a pair of lawsuits deciding whether affirmative action within Harvard University and the University of North Carolina (UNC) is constitutional.

During the oral argument for Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard, Kagan suggested to Patrick Strawbridge, who is representing Students for Fair Admissions, that higher education institutions that use gender-neutral policies lead to unequal outcomes for men at universities. Kagan noted that “white men” could get a “thumb on the scale” in university admissions if educational institutions sought to address the disparity.

“That would be peculiar wouldn’t it?” Kagan said to Strawbridge. “White men get the thumb on the scale, but people who have been kicked in the teeth by our society for centuries do not?”

Strawbridge said Students for Fair Admissions is arguing against racial discrimination, which is what would be occurring if white men were receiving preference.

“Well, of course, our position is that white men could not get a thumb on the scale,” Strawbridge responded. “That sounds like a racial classification. Men could perhaps.”

On Monday, the Supreme Court heard two oral arguments regarding the constitutionality of affirmative action within Harvard University and the University of North Carolina’s (UNC) admissions processes. Students for Fair Admissions, a non-profit that fights race-based policies, argues that UNC allegedly uses race as a determining factor during every step of its admissions process, while Harvard University allegedly puts a specific limit on the number of minority students it accepts into the university.

The court is being asked to overturn the 2004 landmark case Grutter v. Bollinger, which decided that affirmative action admissions policies are constitutional. If overturned, the universities would be prohibited from using race during its admissions process to further diversity on campus.

Harvard University and UNC did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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