Earlier today, the US Supreme Court ruled that the admissions policies used by Harvard University and the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill violate the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote, “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 endpoints. We have never permitted admissions programs to work in that way, and we will not do so today.”
The decision continued, “At the same time, as all parties agree, nothing in this opinion should be construed as prohibiting universities from considering an applicant’s discussion of how race affected his or her life, be it through discrimination, inspiration, or otherwise. But despite the dissent’s assertion to the contrary, universities may not simply establish through application essays or other means the regime we hold unlawful today.”
The lawsuits were brought before the Supreme Court by Students for Fair Admissions. The organization’s president, Edward Blum, added, “The opinion issued today by the United States Supreme Court marks the beginning of the restoration of the colorblind legal covenant that binds together our multi-racial, multi-ethnic nation. 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. These discriminatory admission practices undermined the integrity of our country’s civil rights laws. Ending racial preferences in college admissions is an outcome that the vast majority of all races and ethnicities will celebrate. A university doesn’t have real diversity when it simply assembles students who look different but come from similar backgrounds and act, talk, and think alike.”
We don’t believe the argument over affirmative action is over. We expect many schools to attempt to circumvent the Supreme Court’s ruling and we expect future challenges to the ruling, particularly if or when the court’s current composition changes.