Supreme Court experts have said that the Justices are likely to end the use of affirmative action in college admissions.
Speaking to Fox News, George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley said, “This proved to be a full-contact oral argument for both the advocates and the justices,” and that “The challengers clearly had a better day before the court.”
The court previously heard two other cases on the use of race admissions at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina. The activist group, Students for Fair Admissions, brought forward both cases, Fox News reported.
“Chief Justice Roberts at points appeared to be losing his patience with Harvard's counsel Seth Waxman due to his combative style in oral argument,” Turley said in an interview with Fox News Digital. “Waxman spoke over a number of justices who asked questions and did not appear responsive to direct questions from justices.”
Harvard attorney Seth Waxman got into a heated discussion with Justice Samuel Alito, where Alito pressed Waxman on why Asian American students regularly receive lower personal scores on their applications, as Waxman circumvented the question.
“I still haven't heard any explanation for the disparity between the personal scores that are given to Asians,” Alito said, asking why Waxman was downplaying race as a factor in admissions.
Waxman admitted race was decisive “for some highly qualified applicants,” just like “being… an oboe player in a year in which the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra needs an oboe player.”
“We did not fight a civil war about oboe players,” Roberts shot back. “We did fight a civil war to eliminate racial discrimination.”
Turley called Roberts’ comment the “haymaker of the argument.”
“With that frustrated retort an attempt by Harvard's lawyer to justify using race in higher-education admissions, Chief Justice Roberts illuminated the disingenuous paradoxes at the heart of affirmative action,” Manhattan Institute director of constitutional studies Ilya Shapiro told Fox News Digital.
“On one hand, race is only one of many factors that colleges consider under a ‘holistic’ approach—and never determinative (except in cases as rare as the orchestra's need for an oboe player),” Shapiro added. “On the other, if race can't be used, the number of black students would plummet.”
“Thankfully, Chief Justice Roberts appears to be the deciding vote in these cases, and he's on the side of legal equality rather than nebulous considerations of ‘equity’ and divisive racial spoils,” Shapiro stated. “Come June, the Court will help promote national unity and equal opportunity against the racialist balkanizers.”