McGuireWoods’ Sarah Wake Quoted in Law360 on Supreme Court Affirmative Action Cases

September 13, 2022

Two cases being argued before the U.S. Supreme Court this fall could restrict the ability of colleges and universities to consider race in the admissions process, McGuireWoods Chicago partner Sarah Wake told Law360 in a Sept. 9, 2022, story.

Anti-affirmative action groups are suing Harvard University and the University of North Carolina, seeking to overturn the high court’s landmark 2003 decision Grutter v. Bollinger, which upheld affirmative action in student admissions.

Wake told Law360 that she will be watching the arguments closely, and while she thinks it’s “quite possible” the justices will upend race-based admission policies, there’s still a path for the court to take a middle ground.

“The court could opine that there is still a compelling interest in achieving diversity; however, the way in which schools achieve that compelling interest has not been sufficiently narrowly tailored,” Wake said. “That would open the door to establishing more guidelines on how institutions consider race as one part of a holistic admissions process.”

Wake is a litigator with extensive experience representing employers and institutions of higher education. She returned to McGuireWoods in 2021 after spending more than eight years in the higher education sector, the last five of which she spent in Northwestern University’s Office of General Counsel.