SMU Law Review Forum


This Essay examines the history of affirmative action, the recent Supreme Court oral arguments in the cases of SFFA v. Harvard and SFFA v. UNC Chapel Hill, the perspective of each individual Justice on these cases, and the prospects for the Court’s rulings. It frames these issues around the irony of Brown v. Board of Education II (1955), where the U.S. Supreme Court ordered that school desegregation occur “with all deliberate speed.” Many critical commentators view this ironic phrase as a signal to Southern states to resist desegregation, even as it literally seemed to embody urgency. This Essay argues that in various ways, “with all deliberate speed” applies to the U.S. Supreme Court’s jurisprudence on race-conscious university admissions policies, and that it reflects both the demise of and the best hope for such policies.

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