Guests in the audience await the arrival of U.S. Vice President Mike Pence during the Federalist Society’s Executive Branch Review Conference at The Mayflower Hotel on April 25, 2023, in Washington, D.C.
Credit: Drew Angerer / Getty

On June 29, the Supreme Court upheld a challenge to affirmative action at Harvard and the University of North Carolina and put an end to race-conscious measures to overcome discrimination. The Federalist Society, an ultra-conservative legal organization, was the central force behind this decision. In immediate terms, the opinions that killed affirmative action were written by the six justices who are or have been members of the Federalist Society, the conservative majority on the court. More significantly, the decision was based on precedents that Federalist Society lawyers had created over the past 40 years.

Chief Justice Roberts, long an opponent of affirmative action, wrote the opinion for the court in which all the conservative justices joined. Justices Thomas, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh wrote concurring opinions to articulate their individual concerns. Collectively they rejected diversity in education as a permissible justification for […]

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