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Harvard has already said that if it abandoned race-conscious admissions, African-American and Hispanic representation would decline by nearly half.

Still, the Supreme Court could surprise the country, said Vinay Harpalani, an associate law professor at the University of New Mexico School of Law, possibly curbing the use of affirmative action rather than ending it altogether.

“Even if Harvard and UNC’s policies are ruled unconstitutional, it will be interesting to see the justices’ opinions and how much they limit affirmative action,” Harpalani said in an e-mail. “The question is just how far will they go?”


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