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223 views • June 29, 2023

Supreme Court Strikes Down Race-Based Admissions at Colleges

NTD News
NTD News
The Supreme Court has struck down the use of racially discriminatory admissions policies at U.S. colleges. The decision ends the use of so-called affirmative action in higher education, a longtime goal of conservatives. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote (pdf) that for too long universities 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.” Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote a dissenting opinion. The new decision “rolls back decades of precedent and momentous progress,” she said. The case is actually two separate appeals that were heard together on Oct. 31, 2022: Students for Fair Admissions Inc. (SFFA) v. President and Fellows of Harvard College, court file 20-1199, and SFFA v. University of North Carolina (UNC), court file 21-707. Roberts wrote the majority opinion in the UNC case, which was joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, Samuel Alito, and Amy Coney Barrett. The court’s three liberal justices—Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Ketanji Brown Jackson dissented. The justices’ votes in the Harvard case were the same except that Jackson did not participate in that decision after she recused herself because she has close ties to Harvard. Kagan did not recuse herself even though she used to be dean of the Harvard Law School. Considered a conservative group, SFFA calls itself “a nonprofit membership group of more than 20,000 students, parents, and others, who believe that racial classifications and preferences in college admissions are unfair, unnecessary, and unconstitutional.” Harvard and UNC are, respectively, the oldest private college and the oldest public college in the United States. In the Harvard case, U.S. District Judge Allison Dale Burroughs previously found after a 15-day non-jury trial for Harvard, ruling its admission policy that was said to discriminate against Asian American applicants was not motivated by “racial animus … or intentional discrimination” and was “narrowly tailored to achieve diversity and the academic benefits that flow from diversity.” The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit upheld the lower court’s decision, ruling against SFFA. In the North Carolina case, U.S. District Judge Loretta Copeland Biggs previously held an eight-day non-jury trial to determine if UNC was complying with existing precedent. The court approved the school’s admissions policy because it uses race “flexibly as a ‘plus’ factor” and only as “one among many factors.” The court found UNC had no viable race-neutral alternatives to help it “achieve the educational benefits of diversity about as well as its current race-conscious policies and practices.” The court stated that providing admissions preferences based on socioeconomic status instead of race would not work because “the majority of low-income students are white,” so the schools would just “be choosing more white students.” Race should be used by UNC indefinitely because it is “interwoven in every aspect of the lived experience.” Until the United States one day resolves its “struggle with racial inequality,” minority students would continue to be “less likely to be admitted in meaningful numbers on [race-neutral] criteria.” SFFA promptly filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, but before that court could rule on the case, also sought review from the Supreme Court, which was granted. This is a developing story. This article will be updated. From The Epoch Times
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