Affirmative action at risk as US supreme court hears key cases – live | US politics

What would it mean if affirmative action went away? The Guardian’s Edwin Rios spoke to students who say race-conscious admissions policies had a decisive impact on their academic opportunities, and fear its end would undo progress for future generations: When Andrew Brennen thinks about the US supreme court deliberations over race-conscious admissions, he reflects on his parents, both attorneys, and his brother. In 2009, his father, David, became the first Black dean of the University of Kentucky’s law school since the state desegregated its colleges and universities.“Had they not had access to higher education that they received, who knows what they would’ve been doing,” Brennen, who graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2019, says. “I’m thinking a lot about how different my life, my brother’s life, would be if affirmative action hadn’t been in place.”On Monday, as the US supreme court hears oral arguments in cases against the University of North Carolina and Harvard University, the fate of race-conscious admissions is under threat. Civil rights attorneys and experts alike worry, following the high court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade, that the court’s rightward tilt could spell their end.For decades, the supreme court has consistently upheld that colleges and universities can take limited consideration of a student’s race and ethnicity as a factor when they assess which students to accept. In the 1960s, after John F Kennedy first ordered government contractors to “take affirmative action” to combat racial discrimination, colleges and universities developed policies to further diversify who enrolled.Key eventsShow key events onlyPlease turn on JavaScript to use this featurePolls have shown his approval rating underwater with voters for months, and as the midterms approach, Lauren Gambino reports Joe Biden has adopted a low-key campaign style – for better or worse:Music, chants and applause filled the gymnasium of a community college in an upstate New York battleground district, where Joe Biden delivered Democrats’ closing economic argument of the midterm election season.The president acknowledged Americans’ struggle to cope with painfully high inflation, while touting the progress his administration had made toward a post-pandemic recovery. He closed his remarks with a stark warning: if Republicans win control of Congress, they would create “chaos” in the economy. Then he waded into the crowd to shake hands and snap selfies.While the visit had some of the trappings of a traditional campaign rally, it was, like much of Biden’s recent travels, an official event – an understated finish to a campaign season the president has described as the “most consequential” of his political life.In the final days before the 8 November election, Biden will ramp up his campaign trail appearances, with plans to visit Pennsylvania, Florida, New Mexico and Maryland to stump for Democratic candidates.But his relatively low profile is part of a concerted strategy designed for an unpopular president in a challenging election year.“To the extent he’s less visible, and maybe even invisible, it’s a plus for Democrats because it lets the candidates run their own campaigns on their own issues,” Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. “Out of sight, out of mind.”Gallup has released a new poll that confirms previous surveys finding the economy is voters’ top concern, a worrying indicator for embattled Democrats asking Americans to give them another two years to make things right.However, there was some good news for Joe Biden’s party in the survey, including that abortion is voters’ number-two concern – and Democrats are particularly fired up about it.Gallup found 49% of registered voters consider the economy “extremely important”, including 64% of Republicans and 47% of independents. It’s a lower 33% among Democrats, but with other polls finding Biden scores low marks on his handling of the economy, the figure bolsters the case for his party to lose seats in the House and Senate in the 8 November midterms as voters retaliate for months of high inflation.But there was better news for Democrats in voters’ rankings of abortion. It came in second place among issues, with 42% considering it “extremely important”, including 51% of Democrats and 38% of independents. That’s a positive for the party in power, because Democrats have hoped the GOP will suffer its own backlash for the conservative-dominated supreme court’s decision earlier this year to overturn Roe v Wade and allow states to completely ban abortion.But the abortion outrage cuts both ways. A significant 37% of Republicans see it as their top issue, potentially because they intend to vote for candidates who will further crack down on the procedure.Democrats have slight advantage in key Senate races: pollDemocrats have a small lead over their Republican challengers in the crucial Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania Senate races, while Nevada is a dead heat, according to a New York Times poll released today:Control of the Senate rests on a knife’s edge, according to new polls by The New York Times and Siena College. The contests are close in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada and Pennsylvania. The New York Times (@nytimes) October 31, 2022
Assuming no Democratic incumbents lose elsewhere, winning those three states alone would ensure Joe Biden’s allies continue to control Congress’s upper chamber for another two years, even if Nevada senator Catherine Cortez Masto loses re-election to Republican Adam Laxalt. Polls are, however, uncertain, and there’s still enough time before the 8 November vote for the situation to change.The Senate is perhaps the more important of the two chambers for Democrats to control because it is responsible for considering executive appointees – such as supreme court justices. Years of GOP control during which Republicans presidents had their jurors confirmed created the court’s six-member conservative majority, which earlier this year overturned Roe v Wade and seems poised to strike down affirmative action policies at universities nationwide.What would it mean if affirmative action went away? The Guardian’s Edwin Rios spoke to students who say race-conscious admissions policies had a decisive impact on their academic opportunities, and fear its end would undo progress for future generations: When Andrew Brennen thinks about the US supreme court deliberations over race-conscious admissions, he reflects on his parents, both attorneys, and his brother. In 2009, his father, David, became the first Black dean of the University of Kentucky’s law school since the state desegregated its colleges and universities.“Had they not had access to higher education that they received, who knows what they would’ve been doing,” Brennen, who graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2019, says. “I’m thinking a lot about how different my life, my brother’s life, would be if affirmative action hadn’t been in place.”On Monday, as the US supreme court hears oral arguments in cases against the University of North Carolina and Harvard University, the fate of race-conscious admissions is under threat. Civil rights attorneys and experts alike worry, following the high court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade, that the court’s rightward tilt could spell their end.For decades, the supreme court has consistently upheld that colleges and universities can take limited consideration of a student’s race and ethnicity as a factor when they assess which students to accept. In the 1960s, after John F Kennedy first ordered government contractors to “take affirmative action” to combat racial discrimination, colleges and universities developed policies to further diversify who enrolled.Affirmative action’s days are likely numbered as conservative-dominated supreme court hears key casesGood morning, US politics blog readers. Months after they handed down a decision that ended nearly five decades of nationwide abortion rights, the supreme court’s conservative majority will today hear two cases that are predicted to bring about the end of affirmative action. The court’s six-justice conservative majority is known to be hostile to race-conscious admissions policies such as those at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina, and is widely expected to use the cases as an opportunity to throw out another longstanding decision in favor of modern rightwing orthodoxy.Here’s what else is happening today:
The Bidens are heading to New York, where Joe Biden will attend a private memorial service, and first lady Jill Biden will campaign for Democrats including gubernatorial candidate Kathy Hochul and congressman Sean Patrick Maloney.
The man who attacked Paul Pelosi on Friday is likely to be formally charged today. He made clear during the attack on their San Francisco home that he was looking for his wife, Democratic House speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Reminder: the 8 November midterms are only eight days away! Voters will decide whether Democrats will control the Senate and House of Representatives for another two years, as well cast ballots for gubernatorial and statehouse candidates.