US Supreme Court verdict on race-based college admissions

30 June, 2023 | Disha Singh

29scotus admissions courtroom cjfz superJumbo World

The US Supreme Court has ruled that race can no longer be considered as a factor in university admissions.

The US Supreme Court’s recent decision to invalidate race-based admissions at two universities has elicited divergent responses from Democrats and Republicans. President Joe Biden strongly criticized the ruling, emphasizing the importance of racial diversity in colleges.

In contrast, former President Donald Trump hailed the decision as a “great day for America.” The Supreme Court’s verdict prohibits the consideration of race and ethnicity in university admissions, undermining a long-standing practice that aimed to enhance educational opportunities for African-Americans and other minorities.

While universities can still consider an applicant’s personal experiences, making race the primary factor in admission decisions is deemed unconstitutional and tantamount to racial discrimination, according to Chief Justice John Roberts. “Our constitutional history does not tolerate that choice,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion.

President Biden condemned the ruling, asserting that the Supreme Court has eroded fundamental rights and decisions more than any previous court. He expressed his dismay, considering the decision to be incongruous with the American people’s core values. In contrast, Trump, the leading Republican presidential contender, lauded the ruling, describing it as a momentous occasion for the nation. The president said the Supreme Court had “done more to unravel basic rights and basic decisions than any court in recent history.”

“I just find it so out of sorts with the basic value system of the American people,” Biden said in an interview.

Former President Barack Obama, reflecting on his own experience, highlighted how affirmative action had allowed individuals like him and Michelle to establish their belonging. Former US President Barack Obama said in a statement that affirmative action “allowed generations of students like Michelle and me to prove we belonged. Now it’s up to all of us to give young people the opportunities they deserve — and help students everywhere benefit from new perspectives.” He urged collective action to provide deserving young people with opportunities and enable all students to benefit from diverse perspectives.

Vice President Kamala Harris criticized the court’s decision, characterizing it as a denial of opportunity. She argued that it overlooked historical context, empirical evidence of disparities, and the enrichment that diversity brings to classrooms and boardrooms. US Vice President Kamala Harris said the court’s decision to end “affirmative action” in college admissions is “a denial of opportunity”.

“The highest court in our land just made a decision today on affirmative action and I feel compelled to speak about it. It is in so very many ways a denial of opportunity,” the US Vice President said.

Mike Pence, Trump’s former Vice President and a contender for the 2024 Republican nomination, expressed pride in having contributed to appointing three justices who contributed to the favourable outcome.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a prominent Republican figure and Trump’s electoral rival, welcomed the ruling, asserting that it would put an end to race-based discrimination in university admissions.

DeSantis advocated for merit-based evaluations, rejecting the consideration of race or ethnicity. Meanwhile, the university stressed the significance of diversity in promoting transformative education, research, and learning, emphasizing the importance of a community comprising individuals from various backgrounds and perspectives.