Supreme Court Rules Affirmative Action in College Admissions is Unconstitutional

The Supreme Court issued an opinion today in Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. Harvard and Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. University of North Carolina, holding that race-based admissions procedures among institutions of higher education violates the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.

The court’s opinion, authored by Chief Justice Roberts and joined by Justices Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett, held:

“Because Harvard’s and UNC’s admissions programs 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.”

The policies, known as affirmative action, give additional weight to college applicants who are members of a minority community. For years, institutions of higher education, both public and private, have used these policies to admit additional minority students in pursuit of a diverse student body. These policies were originally permitted under the Supreme Court’s precedent set in Grutter v. Bollinger, which held that the “narrowly tailored use of race in admissions decisions to further a compelling interest in obtaining the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body is not prohibited by the Equal Protection Clause, Title VI, or § 1981.”

Today’s opinion is a landmark ruling that effectively overrules the precedent in Grutter and prohibits colleges and universities from using affirmative action policies.

In Depth: Education

An excellent education has long been recognized as key to the American Dream. Unfortunately, the current monopolistic and expensive K-12 education system is failing our students, leaving them unprepared for college, careers, or life. Similarly, our higher education system is leaving students with higher debt burdens and fewer career guarantees…

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