The Supreme Court struck down college affirmative action programs with a ruling on June 29 after decades of efforts to end the consideration of race in the admissions process.
In a case that involved affirmative action programs at the University of North Carolina and Harvard University, the court ruled that both programs violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution and because of this are unlawful, CNBC reported.
The Supreme Court voted 6-3 in the UNC case and 6-2 in the Harvard case. Liberal Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson recused herself from the Harvard case.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor, joined by Justice Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson issued a passionate dissent, saying the opinion “rolls back decades of precedent and momentous progress.” In a demonstration of the controversial nature of the case, justices read their dissents from the bench for the first time since 2019.
Conservatives praised the decision. Former President Donald Trump said it was “a great day for America.” But Liberals called it a setback in the fight against discrimination.
“It wasn’t perfect, but there’s no doubt that it helped offer new ladders of opportunity for those who, throughout our history, have too often been denied a chance to show how fast they can climb,” said former first lady Michelle Obama.
Justice Clarence Thomas, a Black conservative, has been a long-term critic of affirmative action. In his 58-page opinion he called the programs in question “rudderless, race-based preferences designed to ensure a particular racial mix in the entering classes.”
Reparations advocate Dr. William Sandy Darity responded to a tweet by Victor ray, author of “On Critical Race Theory: Why It Matters & Why You Should Care.” Ray tweeted, “If you think getting rid of affirmative action is going to positively impact the ‘stereotypes that attach to all minorities’ you might want to read some history.”
Darity responded, “The idea [t]hat affirmative action produced anti-Back stereotypes is absurd. If anything, it’s the prejudicial beliefs underlying the stereotypes that has been weaponized to bring affirmative action on behalf of Black American admissions to formerly exclusionary universities down.”
Many pointed out that Affirmative Action programs often benefited whites.
“This decision will destroy important diversity on campuses, which educates. I know experiencing ME at the @Penn benefitted white students like @JeffreyGoldberg, as engaging him enhanced my development. This ruling will also have the unintended consequence of strengthening HBCU’s,” tweeted activist and talk show host Rev. Conrad Tillard.
“When I ask students this question, the replies I get most often include ‘racial equality,’ ‘racial justice,’ ‘racial discrimination,’ ‘racial preferences,’ or ‘quotas.’ Rarely do people mention gender. So it comes as a surprise to many to discover that white women have benefited more from affirmative action programs and policies than any other demographic,” wrote sociologist Wendy Leo Moore, a professor at Texas A+M University, in a 2022 op-ed for Teen Vogue.
Chair of the California Reparations Task Force Kamilah Moore stressed that the decision is all the more reason reparations are needed. “Further confirmation that lineage-based reparations, and even admissions preferences (like legacy admissions), rather than race-based, is the only viable path forwar,” she tweeted.
Tweeter Nija. agreed, tweeting, “After reading Justice Thomas’s opinion, we might have a major victory towards lineage based redress, y’all.”
“1619 Project” creator, journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, tweeted the decision should ot be made by the Supreme Court. She posted, “An elite, white majority determining after just 50 years of weak, half-hearted affirmative action efforts, that they are the ones to decide that enough has been done to address centuries of explicit racial exclusion against Black people is the most American ruling ever.”
Reparations activist Yvette Carnell, co-founder of American Descendants of Slavery, tweeted, “
The real legal fight is over lineage & ancestry, not race. Groups have been feasting off programs intended for #ADOS for generations. This signals an end to that forced minority grouping. Now let’s work to replace diversity affirmative action w/ *SPECIFIC* redress for #ADOS.”
Photo by Tony Schnagl: https://www.pexels.com/photo/man-in-brown-coat-and-black-cap-5588224/