The Supreme Court has ruled that admission policies that consider race at Harvard College and the University of North Carolina are unconstitutional, striking down affirmative action in college admissions.
On Thursday (June 29), the court ruled 6-3, with the conservative justices in the majority and the liberals dissenting, against race-conscious admission policies in the case of the University of North Carolina, and 6-2 in Harvard's case, per the Washington Post. Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson was recused in Harvard's dispute due to her ties with the school board.
Chief Justice John Roberts authored the majority opinion.
“The student must be treated based on his or her experiences as an individual—not on the basis of race,” Roberts wrote. “Many universities have for too long done just the opposite. And in doing so, they have concluded, wrongly, that the touchstone of an individual’s identity is not challenges bested, skills built, or lessons learned but the color of their skin. Our constitutional history does not tolerate that choice.”
According to Roberts, admission policies at Harvard and UNC “lack sufficiently focused and measurable objectives warranting the use of race, unavoidably employ race in a negative manner, involve racial stereotyping, and lack meaningful endpoints.”
UNC's case was led by conservative activist Edward Blum and his group, Students for Fair Admissions, who alleged that the school's policies discriminated against White and Asian applicants by giving preference to Black, Hispanic, and Native American people. In a separate case, Harvard was also accused of discriminating against Asian American students by using subjective standards to limit their acceptances.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor said the nation's highest court rolled back decades of "momentous progress" in its ruling on Thursday (June 29).
“Today, this Court stands in the way and rolls back decades of precedent and momentous progress. It holds that race can no longer be used in a limited way in college admissions to achieve such critical benefits. In so holding, the Court cements a superficial rule of colorblindness as a constitutional principle in an endemically segregated society where race has always mattered and continues to matter.”
The decision will affect college campuses across the nation.