Bloomberg Law
Dec. 22, 2022, 4:06 PM

Affirmative Action’s Diversity Dilemma Spells Its Doom (Podcast)

Matthew S. Schwartz
Matthew S. Schwartz
Host, UnCommon Law

It’s been almost 20 years since Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, intentionally or not, set an affirmative action countdown in motion. On Oct. 31, the Supreme Court heard arguments that Harvard and the University of North Carolina go too far in their use of race in admissions. Will the diversity rationale — the heart of affirmative action defenses since 1978 — convince this staunchly conservative court?

Listen to Episode 1, Episode 2, and Episode 3 of our four-part series on affirmative action in college admissions.

Also, while diversity has been the reason affirmative action has survived legal tests — was it ever the best reason, under the Constitution, for affirmative action? Or have advocates been hamstrung by an argument that doesn’t go far enough?

Are race-conscious admissions policies about to fall? The conclusion to our four-part series on affirmative action at the Supreme Court.


  • Edward Blum, president of Students for Fair Admissions
  • William Lee, partner at WilmerHale
  • Kimberly Robinson, Supreme Court reporter for Bloomberg Law
  • Lee Bollinger, president of Columbia University
  • Ted Shaw, professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law
  • Michelle Adams, professor at the University of Michigan Law School

To contact the reporter on this story: Matthew S. Schwartz at

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

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