As of June 29, 2023, the use of racial preferences by colleges and universities as a component of their admissions process, known as Affirmative Action, is prohibited. The landmark decision, released by the Supreme Court (SCOTUS), was published in a 228-page opinion that resolves two companion cases, both brought by “Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA),” a nonprofit organization, regarding the constitutionality of Affirmative Action.
One of the two cases, SFFA v University of North Carolina (UNC), SCOUTUS Dkt No. 21-707, requested the Court completely ban the use of Affirmative Action by colleges during the admissions process, arguing that race-based preferences are unconstitutional violations of the Equal Protection Clause. The other case, SFFA v Harvard, Dkt. No. 20-1199, focused on whether Title VI of the Civil Rights Act violates the constitutional rights of Asian-American and certain other minority populations who are penalized by race-based admissions policies that only favor some minority populations.
Pleading with the court to overturn its 20-year-old ruling in Grutter v Bollinger (2003), the plaintiff in the cases argued that colleges and universities should be prohibited from infusing race-based preferences into their admissions practices, declaring on its website, “a student’s race and ethnicity should not be factors that either harm or help that student to gain admission to a competitive university.”
Persuaded by the well-reasoned arguments brought forth by the plaintiff, the Court reversed its 2003 ruling and, at the end of the day, fairness and equality won out. Race-based preferences that provide advantages to one group over another based on skin tone or ethnic identity inherently violate Equal Protection and undermine everything America has stood for since its founding.
Writing for the majority, the words of Chief Justice John Roberts speak to the essence of today’s landmark ruling,
Because [the] admissions programs [of colleges and universities] lack sufficiently focused and measurable objectives warranting the use of race, unavoidably employ race in a negative manner, involve racial stereotyping, and lack meaningful end points, those admissions programs cannot be reconciled with the guarantees of the Equal Protection Clause…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.
We, at America’s Future, applaud the Court’s decisive and principled action in overruling an aged case that never squared with the American truth penned by Thomas Jefferson that we hold to be self-evident – “that all men are created equal.”
Editor’s Note: To stay informed about the other SCOTUS decisions in the October Term 2022, including rulings up to today (June 29, 2023) at the time of this writing, please click here.