US – In a majority decision of 6-3 the Supreme Court has ruled that university admission programs that use affirmative action and other race-based admission procedures are unconstitutional.
“Eliminating racial discrimination means eliminating all of it,” wrote Chief Justice Roberts in the majority opinion. “Many universities have for too long wrongly concluded that the touchstone of an individual’s identity is not challenges bested, skills built, or lessons learned, but the color of their skin. This Nation’s constitutional history does not tolerate that choice.”
The decision was based on the 14th Amendment of the Constitution which gives all persons born or naturalized in the United States Equal Protection.
The court’s majority overturned admissions plans at Harvard and the University of North Carolina, the nation’s oldest private and public colleges, respectively.
Justice Clarence Thomas the nation’s second Black justice, who had already called for the end of affirmative action, wrote separately that the decision “sees the universities’ admissions policies for what they are: rudderless, race-based preferences designed to ensure a particular racial mix in their entering classes.”
As Justice Thomas wrote in his concurrence, “The solution to our Nation’s racial problems thus cannot come from policies grounded in affirmative action or some other conception of equity. Racialism simply cannot be un- done by different or more racialism. Instead, the solution announced in the second founding is incorporated in our Constitution: that we are all equal, and should be treated equally before the law without regard to our race.”
President Biden spoke out against the decision, “They should not abandon their commitment to ensure student bodies of diverse backgrounds and experience that reflect all of America,” Biden said from the White House. He said colleges should evaluate “adversity overcome” by candidates.