Bloomberg Law
Oct. 25, 2022, 4:30 PM

Affirmative Action Faces Toughest Test in a Generation (Podcast)

Matthew Schwartz
Matthew Schwartz
Host, UnCommon Law

For more than 50 years, colleges and universities around the country have taken race into account as they craft their incoming classes. But now a pair of lawsuits, to be heard by the Supreme Court on Monday, could change the face of higher education in this country.

It’s the biggest challenge to affirmative action in a generation. And, given the makeup of this Supreme Court, it is very likely affirmative action in college admissions could be found unconstitutional.

Over three episodes, we will explore the legal issues around affirmative action in higher education. Does the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibit all discrimination based on race? Or is benign discrimination permissible — taking race into account in order to help groups that have been marginalized? Does the constitution leave room to remedy society’s ills?

In this episode, we explore the 1978 case of Regents of the University of California v. Bakke — the first challenge to affirmative action decided by the Supreme Court. Guests include:

  • Robert “Bo” Links — Attorney for Allan Bakke
  • Michelle Adams — Professor at the University of Michigan Law School
  • Ted Shaw — Professor at the University of North Carolina, and former president of the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund
  • Garrett Epps — Professor at the University of Oregon School of Law
  • John Jeffries — Former dean of the University of Virginia School of Law

Listen and subscribe to UnCommon Law on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Megaphone, or Audible. To comment on this episode, tag @BLaw on Twitter!

To contact the reporter on this story: Matthew Schwartz at

To contact the executive producer responsible for this story: Josh Block at