CFER and The ACR Project Urge the U.S. Supreme Court to Consider the University of North Carolina Case and Review Race Consciousness in College Admissions

For Immediate Release

December 15, 2021

SAN DIEGO, CA – December 15, 2021- On December 8, 2021, Californians for Equal Rights Foundation (CFER), represented by the American Civil Rights Project (the ACR Project), filed an amicus brief with the United States Supreme Court, in support of the petition for writ of certiorari before judgment of Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) in SFFA v. University of North Carolina, et al (UNC). SFFA filed that petition, as a companion to SFFA’s pending petition challenging the similar policies practiced by Harvard as illegal racial discrimination banned by the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“Last year, over 57.2% of Californian voters resoundingly rejected Proposition 16, enhancing a growing and steady national consensus against racial preferences in public policy-making,” commented Frank Xu, president of CFER. “We hope that the Supreme Court will consider strong evidence of racial balancing in both the UNC and Harvard cases and rule it unconstitutional to treat people differently on the basis of race.”

“The Court should take up the UNC case along with the Harvard one. They present a once-a-generation chance to correct previous errors, restore equal protection, and rid America of racial discrimination at both private and public colleges and universities,” said Dan Morenoff, Executive Director of the ACR Project. “Harvard is the nation’s oldest private college and created the template for race-conscious admissions that has spread nationwide. UNC is America’s oldest public university and has enthusiastically embraced that model, even rejecting race-neutral alternatives that would increase the percentage of ‘under-represented minorities’ on campus.  Together, these institutions’ cases present a fitting setting for the Supreme Court to finally resolve the tension in our law it created in crafting its prior decisions around an inexcusable, incomprehensible exception allowing these illegal, unconstitutional, racist policies to take root.”

Along with the amicus brief CFER filed in March in support of SFFA’s certiorari petition regarding the Harvard admissions case, we here argue that America has a settled public consensus against racial preferences. This consensus, grounded in the principles underlying Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, calls for the Supreme Court to reconsider its earlier decisions on race-preferential college admissions.

Additionally, we argue that neither Harvard nor UNC has identified a “compelling” interest served by its racially discriminatory policy. Others have argued that, even if they had, they have not exhausted workable race-neutral alternatives. In reality, neither the existence of any educational benefits from some undefined “critical mass” of “diversity” of an unspecified sort, nor the necessity of racial balancing to achieve such a “critical mass” is self-evident or legally settled. Enhancing the argument for Supreme Court review of both cases is the undeniable fact that the public has consistently rejected racial preferences in admissions, over three decades of polling data, as well across almost all the ballot initiative history from anywhere in the nation (including, most recently, that from California and Washington).

As such, CFER sincerely hopes that the Supreme Court will grant certiorari in SFFA v. UNC and SFFA v. Harvard in consideration of America’s long-standing and broad-based antipathy to race-based public programs.



Wenyuan Wu

(786) 393-8028

About Californians for Equal Rights Foundation (CFER): We are a non-partisan and non-profit organization established following the defeat of Proposition 16 in 2020, with a mission to defend and raise public awareness on the cause of equal rights through public education, civic engagement and community outreach. In 1996, California became the first U.S. state to amend its constitution by passing Proposition 209 to ban racial discrimination and preferences. Prop. 209 requires that “the state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.” CFER is dedicated to educating the public on this important constitutional principle of equal treatment.  

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