Supreme Court rules race can’t be considered in college admissions

by WorldTribune Staff / 247 Real News June 29, 2023

The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that it is unconstitutional to consider race in university admissions.

The court struck down affirmative action programs at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina, ruling that both institutions were in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.

U.S. Supreme Court / Wikimedia Commons

“Eliminating racial discrimination means eliminating all of it,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the court, joined by conservative Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett.

“The student must be treated based on his or her experiences as an individual — not on the basis of race,” Roberts continued. “Many universities have for too long done just the opposite. And in doing so, they have concluded, wrongly, that the touchstone of an individual’s identity is not challenges bested, skills built, or lessons learned but the color of their skin. Our constitutional history does not tolerate that choice.”

The court’s three liberals dissented. Society “is not, and has never been, colorblind,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote, joined by Justices Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson. “The Court ignores the dangerous consequences of an America where its leadership does not reflect the diversity of the People.”

The Harvard and North Carolina programs had been first challenged in 2014 by Students for Fair Admissions (SFA), a group founded by conservative activist Edward Blum. SFA had contended that colleges and universities can use other, race-neutral ways to assemble a diverse student body, including by focusing on socioeconomic status and eliminating the preference for children of alumni and major donors.

“The polarizing, stigmatizing and unfair jurisprudence that allowed colleges and universities to use a student’s race and ethnicity as a factor to admit or reject them has been overruled,” Blum said after the ruling. “These discriminatory admission practices undermined the integrity of our country’s civil rights laws.”

In his concurrence, Justice Thomas wrote that “the Constitution continues to embody a simple truth: Two discriminatory wrongs cannot make a right. Both Harvard and UNC have a history of racial discrimination. But, neither have even attempted to explain how their current racially discriminatory programs are even remotely traceable to their past discriminatory conduct.”

Justice Jackson accused the majority of “let-them-eat-cake obliviousness” and announcing “colorblindness for all” by legal fiat.

“But deeming race irrelevant in law does not make it so in life,” Jackson wrote. “And having so detached itself from this country’s actual past and present experiences, the Court has now been lured into interfering with the crucial work that UNC and other institutions of higher learning are doing to solve America’s real-world problems. No one benefits from ignorance. Although formal race-linked legal barriers are gone, race still matters to the lived experiences of all Americans in innumerable ways, and today’s ruling makes things worse, not better.”

Thomas responded in his concurrence by accusing Jackson of depicting African-Americans as a “perpetual inferior caste. Such a view is irrational; it is an insult to individual achievement and cancerous to young minds seeking to push through barriers, rather than consign themselves to permanent victimhood.”

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