Four Texas-based companies—Dell Technologies, Shell USA, American Airlines, and Match Group—are asking the U.S. Supreme Court  to uphold the use of race as a factor in college admissions, alongside 78 other major U.S. companies.

“Prohibiting universities nationwide from considering race among other factors in composing student bodies would undermine businesses’ efforts to build diverse workforces,” argued 70 of these corporations in a court brief. 

Background

In a series of decisions beginning in 1978, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that race can be used as a factor when considering college admissions applications, beginning the use of affirmative action programs. This means that when given two equally qualified applicants, colleges are justified in using race as a factor in making their final decision.    

Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA), the brainchild of conservative legal strategist Edward Blum, is challenging the use of affirmative action at both Harvard University and the University of North Carolina, asking the court to overturn the precedent supporting affirmative action.

SFA argues that Asian-American applicants have been illegally targeted by Harvard and rejected at disproportionately higher rates. They argue that this violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment as well as Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. 

Title VI is unambiguous when it comes to preferential admission on the basis of race. It says that “no person” can be “excluded from participation in, or be subjected to discrimination under any program . . .  receiving Federal financial assistance” on the ground “of race, color, or national origin.”

Blum said in January, “It is our hope that the justices will end the use of race as an admissions factor at Harvard, UNC, and all colleges and universities.”

He continued, “The cornerstone of our nation’s civil rights laws is the principle that an individual’s race should not be used to help or harm them in their life’s endeavors.” 

Upcoming Decision

The Supreme Court has agreed to take the case, prompting a flurry of support for affirmative action from some of the most high-profile and successful businesses in the U.S. economy.  

To show their support of using race as a determining factor in college admissions, U.S.companies signed a total of three amicus (or friend-of-the-court) briefs on Monday.  

Seventy companies signed an amicus brief outlining why using race as a factor in college admissions was beneficial to the economy, while 11 of the top science and technologies signed a second brief detailing the importance of using race to determine which students are most competent in STEM fields. MIT, Stanford, and IBM signed a third brief expressing their support for affirmative action. 

All three briefs stated that the companies rely on universities to cultivate racially diverse student bodies which, in turn, yield pools of diverse job candidates.  

Notably, among the list of corporations signing onto affirmative action are Apple, Microsoft, and Meta, which have each received millions in taxpayer-funded subsidies for economic development in Texas.  

A full list of the 85 entities supporting race-based admissions may be found below.  

 

Accenture Chamber of Progress Google LLC Mastercard Inc. Shell USA, Inc.
Adobe Inc. Cigna Corporation HP Inc. Match Group, LLC Silicon Valley Leadership Group
Aeris Communications Cisco Systems, Inc. IBM Mattel, Inc. Stanford University
Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. Corning Incorporated IKEA Retail US Merck & Co, Inc. Starbucks Corporation
Airbnb, Inc. Corteva Agriscience Illinois Tool Works Inc. Meta Platforms, Inc. Steelcase Inc.
Alaska Airlines Inc. Cruise LLC Intel Corporation Micron Technology, Inc. The Hershey Company
American Airlines, Inc. Cummins Inc. Jazz Pharmaceuticals PLC Microsoft Corporation The Kraft Heinz Company
American Express Company Dell Technologies Inc. JetBlue Airways Northrop Grumman Corporation The Prudential Insurance Company of America
American International Group, Inc. DuPont de Nemours, Inc. Johnson & Johnson Paramount Global Twilio Inc.
Amgen Inc. Eaton Corporation Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. PayPal Inc. Uber Technologies, Inc.
Apple Inc. Engine Advocacy KPMG LLP Pinterest, Inc. United Airlines, Inc.
Applied Materials, Inc. Etsy, Inc. Leidos Holdings, Inc. Procter & Gamble Company Verily Life Sciences LLC
Ariel Investments, LLC General Dynamics Corporation Levi Strauss & Co. RealNetworks, Inc. Verizon Services Corp.
Bain & Company General Electric Company LinkedIn Corporation Red Hat, Inc. ViiV Healthcare Company
Bayer US LLC General Motors Company Logitech Inc. Ripple Labs Inc. VMware, Inc.
Biogen Inc. Gilead Sciences, Inc. Lyft, Inc. Ropes and Grey LLP Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc.
Bristol Myers Squibb GlaxoSmithKline LLC Massachusetts Institute of Technology Salesforce, Inc. Zazzle Inc.
Juliana Berg

Juliana is a summer fellow for Texas Scorecard. She is studying political science and philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin. She enjoys learning about the philosophies that shape America.

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