By Mark Sherman (Related Press)
WASHINGTON (AP) – On Thursday, the Supreme Court was divided, dismissing affirmative action in college admissions, declaring that race cannot be a factor, as higher education institutions seek to achieve diverse student populations. I was forced to search for a new method of
The court’s conservative majority has effectively overturned a 45-year-old lawsuit that nullified admission plans at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina, the nation’s oldest private and public universities, respectively.
The ruling, like last year’s flagrant abortion ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade, finds that race-sensitive admissions programs violate the Constitution and laws applicable to federally funded recipients. It marked the realization of a conservative legal goal long sought after. Almost all universities do.
These schools, especially those that are likely to consider applicant race, will be forced to redesign their admissions practices.
For too long, Chief Justice John Roberts said, colleges “wrongly concluded that the touchstone of an individual’s identity was not the challenges overcome, the skills developed, or the lessons learned, but rather the color of one’s skin.” said. Our constitutional history does not condone that choice. ”
From the White House, President Joe Biden “strongly, strongly” opposes the court’s ruling, urging universities to seek alternative paths to diversity instead of letting the ruling be the ‘last word’. rice field.
The battle over affirmative action, in addition to the conservative-liberal divide, shows deep divisions between the three judges of color, each with a different view of where American race and its rulings lie. Each of them wrote separately and clearly about whether they would be connected.
Justice Clarence Thomas, the nation’s second black judge who has long called for an end to affirmative action, said the ruling “takes college admissions policy as it is: ensuring a certain racial mix.” It is a rudderless race-based preferential treatment designed for.” in the class you are enrolled in. ”
The court’s first Latino judge, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, dissented, saying the ruling “sets back decades of precedent and significant progress.”
Justices Thomas and Sotomayor, who acknowledge that affirmative action has affected college and law school admissions, took the unusual step of reading summaries of their opinions in court.
Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the court’s first black female justice, called the decision “truly tragic for all of us,” in a separate dissenting opinion.
Jackson, who did not participate in the Harvard lawsuit because he was a member of the Advisory Board of Trustees, said, “By ignoring the cake, the majority pulled the ripcord today, and by statutory law, ‘all It gives people color blindness,'” he wrote. . But just because race is considered irrelevant by law does not make it irrelevant in life. ”
The vote was 6-3 in the North Carolina case and 6-2 in the Harvard case. Justice Elena Kagan was another dissenter.
Arriving quickly in front of the White House cameras, Biden said colleges across the country “shouldn’t abandon their commitment to ensuring a diverse student body with diverse backgrounds and experiences that reflects the nation as a whole.” said it should appreciate “overcoming adversity.” Depends on the candidate.
Indeed, applicants can still write, and universities can examine “how race has affected a person’s life through discrimination, inspiration, etc.,” Roberts said. writing.
But these institutions “may not establish, simply through application forms or other means, the regimes we call illegal today,” he writes.
The court’s decision will force colleges across the country to review their admissions practices, especially those that are likely to consider applicants’ race.
Many university presidents were quick to issue statements confirming their commitment to diversity, regardless of the court’s decision. Many said they were still evaluating the impact but would follow federal law.
Houston’s Rice University president Reginald Desroches said he was “extremely disappointed” by the decision but said he was “more determined than ever” to pursue diversity. “Laws may change, but Rice’s commitment to diversity won’t change,” he said in a campus message.
Former Presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama have taken very different views on the High Court ruling. The decision “is a great day for America. People with extraordinary ability and everything they need to succeed, including the future greatness of our country, will finally be rewarded,” said the current Republican president. Leading candidate Trump wrote on his social media networks.
In a statement, President Obama said affirmative action “has enabled generations of students like Michelle and myself to prove their place.” It’s up to all of us to give young people the opportunities they deserve and help students around the world benefit from new perspectives. ”
The Supreme Court has twice upheld race-sensitive college admissions programs in the past 20 years, including in 2016.
But that was before the three Trump appointees joined the court. At arguments in late October, all six conservative justices questioned the practice, which had been upheld under Supreme Court rulings dating back to 1978.
The lower court also upheld the UNC and Harvard programs, dismissing claims that the schools discriminated against white and Asian American applicants.
The college admissions dispute is one of several high-profile cases focused on race in America and has been considered by the most diverse, albeit conservative, courts to date. The nine judges include four women, two blacks and one Latino woman.
In early June, judges ruled in a voting rights case in favor of black voters in Alabama, dismissing a race-based challenge to the Native Child Protection Act.
The affirmative action lawsuit was filed by conservative activist Edward Blum, who led earlier challenges to the University of Texas and a 2013 court suspension of key provisions of the landmark Voting Rights Act. He was also behind the lawsuit.
Bloom, who formed Students for Fair Admissions, filed lawsuits against both schools in 2014.
The group argued that the constitution prohibits the use of race in college admissions and called for overturning previous Supreme Court rulings to the contrary.
Mr. Roberts’ opinion has effectively become so, both Mr. Thomas and his opponents write.
Roberts suggested that the only institutions of higher education explicitly excluded from the ruling were the domestic military academies, and that national security interests could influence the legal analysis.
Bloom’s group argues that other race-neutral ways to promote diverse student populations, such as eliminating colleges’ focus on socioeconomic status and prioritizing the children of alumni and major donors claimed to be organized.
The school said it makes limited use of race, but eliminates race as a factor altogether, making it much more difficult to achieve a student population like the United States.
Federal data shows that the number of nonwhite students at eight Ivy League universities has increased from 27% in 2010 to 35% in 2021. These men and women include Asian, Black, Hispanic, Native American, Pacific Islander, and interracial students.
Nine states have already banned the consideration of race in admissions to public universities. The abolition of affirmative action in higher education in states such as California, Michigan, and Washington has led to a significant drop in minority enrollment at these states’ leading public universities.
Other states are Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nebraska, New Hampshire and Oklahoma.
In 2020, voters in California easily rejected voter action to revive affirmative action.
A poll last month by the Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Relations and Research found 63% of American adults say courts should allow universities to consider race as part of the admissions process, but student Few believe that race should ultimately play a major role in admissions. decision. A survey released last week by the Pew Research Center found that half of Americans oppose considering an applicant’s race, while a third agree.
The Chief Justice and Mr. Jackson received a bachelor’s degree and a law degree from Harvard University. Two other judges, Neil Gorsuch and Cagan, also attended the local law school, where Cagan became the first woman to serve as dean.
All but one of the U.S. colleges the judges attended asked courts to maintain race-sensitive admissions.
These schools (Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Notre Dame, Holy Cross) have joined briefs defending the admissions plans of Harvard and UNC.
Only Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s alma mater, Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, was not involved in the case.
Associated Press reporter Collin Binkley contributed to this report.
https://www.mcall.com/2023/06/29/divided-supreme-court-outlaws-affirmative-action-in-college-admissions-says-race-cant-be-used/ Supreme Court Divisive, Says Affirmative Action in College Admissions Illegal, Can’t Take Advantage of Race – Morning Call