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Fact Sheet Legislation and Legal ChallengesEducationMechanisms for Advancing Health Equity

Affirmative Action and Public Health Repercussions

December 15, 2022


On October 31, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court held oral arguments in two cases on affirmative action in private and public university admissions. At the center of these cases is whether universities may use race or ethnicity as a direct factor in the student admissions process and whether such affirmative action violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. This issue brief highlights select ways in which race and ethnicity have historically or are currently used as public health decision-making or allocation factors in programs, research, funding, or workforce issues in the U.S.