Bloomberg, Chief Justice Roberts, Suzanne Palmer discussed on Bloomberg Law


And on Bloomberg quicktake powered by more than 2700 journalists and analysts in more than 120 countries. I'm Suzanne Palmer. This is Bloomberg This is Bloomberg long. Some complicated international law issues here. What kind of docket is chief justice Roberts facing? Interviews with prominent attorneys and Bloomberg legal experts. Joining me is Bloomberg news Supreme Court reporter Greg store. Neil Devin's a professor at William and Mary law school. And analysis of important legal issues, cases and headlines. Is this essentially the 5th circuit haunting? He has presided over a so called hot bench at the Supreme Court. Bloomberg law with June grosso from Bloomberg radio. Welcome to a special yearend edition of Bloomberg law. Looking back at some of the biggest legal issues over the past year. I'm June Grasso. In oral arguments on challenges to affirmative action programs at the university of North Carolina and Harvard college, several conservative justices suggested it had run its course, referring to the 2003 grutter decision in which justice Sandra Day O'Connor anticipated the use of racial preferences would no longer be necessary in 25 years. Here are chief justice John Roberts and justice Amy Coney Barrett. You don't think that university of North Carolina has to stop in 25 years and at the 2028 mark. So what are you saying when you're up here in 2040? Are you still defending it? Like this is just indefinite. It's going to keep going on. I don't see how you can say that the program will ever end. Your position is that race matters because it's necessary for diversity, which is necessary for the sort of education you want. It's not going to stop mattering at some particular point. My guest is former United States solicitor general Gregory garr, a partner at Latham and Watkins. He won the landmark case of Fisher versus the University of Texas, which upheld the race conscious admissions program used by that university. Greg, looking at the legal analysis after the arguments, it seems that the almost universal conclusion was that the court is ready to throw out the consideration of race in college admissions. Did you come to that conclusion as well? I did. I mean, I think certainly based on the oral arguments, it appeared as though the challengers had the upper hand. And that's not surprising going in, but having said that, there's a lot that remains to be seen about how the court gets that result in how broadly it might go in these cases. During the arguments, there seemed to be a great focus on whether educational diversity can be achieved without the consideration of race specifically with race neutral approaches. Does that indicate that justices are on to the next step? I think that it means that they're focused very carefully on the application of strict scrutiny in this context in particular looking for narrow tailoring and the existence of race neutral alternatives. For some conservative justices it may also mean simply illustrating that universities can achieve educational diversity in other ways without explicitly considering race as part of the admissions process. So I think different justices were looking at that issue through different lenses. It seemed like the justices were deeply divided right down ideological lines. Well, generally speaking, there's a stark divide in the court in terms of how the justices look at this question of diversity and the interest in achieving diversity on college campuses and otherwise. And I think you saw that by the questioning that the justices had for the advocates. The more liberal justices obviously came at this issue from the perspective of there being a compelling interest in achieving diversity on college campuses and elsewhere and whether or not they were able to persuade their more conservative colleagues. I'm not sure, but certainly that was one of the more interesting interplays going on throughout the oral arguments and reflects the sort of stark divide that the justices have on this issue. You argued the Fisher case, of course, and the three jaws toes who dissented the chief justice and justices Thomas and Alito are still on the court where they as stark in their questions and comments about using race to achieve diversity. Yes. I thank you from the standpoint of the more conservative justices, their position on this issue has been clear for some time and I think that's true of justice Thomas, although as I recall he did not ask questions during the Fisher argument, but certainly justice Alito. And even the chief justice who is more moderate in a number of areas, but in this area has been very outspoken against the consideration of race and admissions. There was a lot of discussion about students using their admission essays to talk about their experiences, for example, overcoming racism. Did the lawyer representing the challengers, students for fair admissions seem to come around to accepting that? Towards the second argument, I think they seem to be willing to acknowledge that it might be appropriate in the context of an essay, at least depending on how it was used in describing the person's experiences and what he or she might bring to a college campus. But I do think that that was one of the more interesting and important exchanges throughout the oral argument. Certainly that's something that the chief justice seemed to be interested in nailing down that school might be able to consider an applicant's race in the context of a personal essay. Will know by June, thanks so much, Greg. That's former U.S. solicitor general Gregory garr. I've heard the word diversity quite a few times, and I don't have a clue what it means. It seems to mean everything for everyone. That was just as clarence Thomas, whose dissented in landmark affirmative action cases in oral arguments this week over the affirmative action programs at Harvard college and the university of North Carolina. Thomas was just one of the justices who questioned the role that diversity plays in a college education. My guest is paulette cranberry Russell, president of the national association of

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