In Berkeley Talks episode 174, three leading legal scholars — john a. powell, director of UC Berkeley’s Othering & Belonging Institute (OBI); Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of Berkeley Law; and Sheryll Cashin, professor of law at Georgetown Law School — discuss the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that public and private universities cannot use race as a factor in admitting students. The court, with its conservative justices in the majority, ruled that such affirmative action violates the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, reversing decades of legal precedent.
In California, UC Berkeley and other public colleges and universities have been prohibited from considering race in admissions since 1996, when voters approved Proposition 209.
“The Supreme Court ignores the tremendous difference between using race to harm minorities as opposed to using race to remedy past discrimination and enhance diversity,” said Chemerinsky at the July 3 event, moderated by OBI Assistant Director Stephen Menendian. “When John Roberts tries to invoke Brown v. Board of Education, he ignores that Brown was dealing with laws that mandated segregation. They were all about subordinating a racial minority as opposed to what Harvard and North Carolina were doing, which was about trying to remedy past discrimination.”
Listen to the full conversation in Berkeley Talks episode 174: Legal scholars unpack Supreme Court ruling on affirmative action.
Watch a video of the discussion below.
- Read more about the recent Supreme Court ruling: Berkeley leaders, scholars react to Supreme Court’s decision on affirmative action.
- Listen to Savala Nolan, director of Berkeley Law’s Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice, talk about how the passage of Prop. 209 led to the center’s founding in this episode of Be the Change.