If the conservative-majority Supreme Court, as widely predicted, bans race-based affirmative action in cases to be heard Monday, it will follow in the footsteps of relatively liberal California, whose voters banned any consideration of race in admissions to state colleges and other governments . programs when they approved Proposition 209 in 1996 with a 55% majority. For good measure, this decision was confirmed by a 57% vote in November 2020.
But Prop. 209 applied only to public universities and not to private schools such as Stanford, the University of Southern California, and the University of San Francisco. Because those schools, like nearly all institutions of higher education, receive federal funds, they would be affected by a ruling that taking an applicant’s race into account violates federal law — an issue the court will consider in the Harvard University case, one of two on Monday’s paper .