Get it on Google Play Preorder Audio Law Reader from App Store

Case Digest on Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College

Admission policies of educational institutions regarding race are not constitutionally permissible, unless it had otherwise undergone strict scrutiny, is clearly defined, and has measurable objectives for considering race as a factor in the admissions processes.

This anti-racism ruling was from the case of Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College. Check out this two-minute case digest by Audio Law Reader.🎧📚



Harvard College and the University of North Carolina are two prestigious universities in the United States with highly competitive admissions processes considering they receive thousands of applications but could admit only a small percentage of applicants. Their admissions processes consider factors like academic achievements, test scores, recommendations, extracurricular activities; they also include an applicant's race as a factor in their admissions decisions to promote diversity in their student bodies.

Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA), a nonprofit organization, filed separate lawsuits against Harvard and UNC, claiming that their race-based admissions policies violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Lower courts upheld the universities' admissions programs as lawful, leading to appeals to the Supreme Court.


Whether the admissions policies of Harvard College and UNC, which involve the consideration of an applicant's race, are constitutionally permissible under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment


No, admissions policies that involve an applicant’s race are not constitutionally permissible. The Supreme Court held that Harvard's and UNC's admissions programs violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

It found that these universities fail to meet the standards required for race-based admissions programs under strict scrutiny, a legal standard that imposes rigorous scrutiny on government actions involving racial classifications.

The Court ruled that Harvard and UNC did not have sufficiently measurable objectives for using race as a factor in admissions, making it difficult for courts to assess whether the use of race was justified, and that the universities' admissions programs resulted in fewer admissions of certain racial groups, indicating that race was used as a negative factor, which violates the Equal Protection Clause.


This case highlights the necessity among academic institutions for strict scrutiny when considering race as a factor for establishing admissions policies.