The Supreme Court says colleges and universities can no longer take race into consideration as a specific basis for granting admission.
This landmark decision upends long-standing precedent that has benefitted Black and Latino students in higher education.
In her fiery dissenting opinion, liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor, said,
The result of today’s decision is that a person’s skin color may play a role in assessing individualized suspicion, but it cannot play a role in assessing that person’s individualized contributions to a diverse learning environment.
That indefensible reading of the Constitution is not grounded in law and subverts the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection.
Ignoring race will not equalize a society that is racially unequal. What was true in the 1860s, and again in 1954, is true today: Equality requires acknowledgment of inequality.
The result of today’s decision is that a person’s skin color may play a role in assessing individualized suspicion, but it cannot play a role in assessing that person’s individualized contributions to a diverse learning environment. That indefensible reading of the Constitution is not grounded in law and subverts the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection.”
Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the opinion for the conservative majority,
The Harvard and UNC admissions programs cannot be reconciled with the guarantees of the Equal Protection Clause.
Both programs lack sufficiently focused and measurable objectives warranting the use of race, unavoidably employ race in a negative manner, involve racial stereotyping, and lack meaningful end points.
We have never permitted admissions programs to work in that way, and we will not do so today.”
The ruling says that colleges and universities can no longer take race into consideration as a specific basis for granting admission, the majority opinion suggested that schools could still consider how race has affected an applicant’s life if it is discussed in their admission essay.
Nothing prohibits universities from considering an applicant’s discussion of how race affected the applicant’s life, so long as that discussion is concretely tied to a quality of character or unique ability that the particular applicant can contribute to the university.”
But the three liberal justices said in their dissent that even if the court did not end race-based affirmative action in higher education, its analysis will make it practically impossible for colleges and universities to take race into account.
Former First Lady Michelle Obama shared her opinion on the ruling via Twitter…
So today, my heart breaks for any young person out there who’s wondering what their future holds — and what kinds of chances will be open to them.
And while I know the strength and grit that lies inside kids who have always had to sweat a little more to climb the same ladders, I hope and I pray that the rest of us are willing to sweat a little, too.
Today is a reminder that we’ve got to do the work not just to enact policies that reflect our values of equity and fairness, but to truly make those values real in all of our schools, workplaces, and neighborhoods.”
I wanted to share some of my thoughts on today’s Supreme Court decision on affirmative action: pic.twitter.com/Wa6TGafzHV— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) June 29, 2023
(Photo, Wikimedia Commons; via CNN)