US Supreme Court bans considering race in university admissions
The US Supreme Court agrees that programs for admissions should not consider race and ethnicity when reviewing applicants.
The US Supreme Court prohibited the use of race and ethnicity in university admissions on Thursday, thus ending a decades-long practice that increased educational possibilities for African-Americans and other minorities.
"The student must be treated based on his or her experiences as an individual -- not on the basis of race," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion.
Following years of conservative hostility to "affirmative action" practices that sought diversity in school admissions and business and government hiring, the ruling was decided by a six-to-three vote along conservative-liberal lines.
The court held that institutions could examine an individual applicant's personal experience - whether they grew up with bias, for example - when comparing their application to applicants with higher academic qualifications. However, deciding largely on whether an applicant is white, Black, or other is racial discrimination, according to Roberts. "Our constitutional history does not tolerate that choice," he said.
The verdict on Thursday was a victory for conservatives, who have long claimed that affirmative action is fundamentally unfair.
Others argue that the strategy has outlived its usefulness because educational possibilities for Blacks and other minorities have dramatically improved. However, one year after the court overturned the historic 1973 "Roe v. Wade" decision ensuring a woman's right to abortion, the result was a severe loss for progressives.
Republicans vs. Democrats reactions highlights division
Former US President Donald Trump hailed the Supreme Court's decision as a "great day for America" on Thursday. "This is the ruling everyone was waiting and hoping for and the result was amazing. It will also keep us competitive with the rest of the world," claimed Trump, who is running for a second term in the White House, on his Truth Social platform.
"Our greatest minds must be cherished and that's what this wonderful day has brought. We're going back to all merit-based -- and that's the way it should be!"
Republican US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy praised the Court's decision, saying it had increased opportunities for students of color.
"Now students will be able to compete based on equal standards and individual merit. This will make the college admissions process fairer and uphold equality under the law," he posted on Twitter.
The Supreme Court just ruled that no American should be denied educational opportunities because of race.— Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) June 29, 2023
Now students will be able to compete based on equal standards and individual merit. This will make the college admissions process fairer and uphold equality under the law.
President Joe Biden, on his part, said he "strongly" disagreed with the Court's decision.
The ruling "walked away from decades of precedent," he said, adding universities "should not abandon their commitment" to create diverse student bodies.
"Discrimination still exists in America," said Biden. "Today's decision does not change that. It's a simple fact that if a student has had to overcome adversity on their path to education, colleges should recognize and value that."
"I believe our colleges are stronger when they are racially diverse... We cannot let this decision be the last word."
Asked by reporters if Thursday's decision by the conservative-dominated panel showed it was a rogue court, Biden took a lengthy pause before finally saying, "This is not a normal court."