This is another “I never thought I would see the day” moment. The Supreme Court has eliminated affirmative action as it applies to the use of racially discriminatory admissions policies at U. S. colleges and universities. On a 6-3 decision in a case brought by Students for Fair Admissions on appeal, the Court ruled that admissions policy at Harvard and The University of North Carolina failed to meet the standard of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, and as written in the opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts “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”.
This is a huge day for the Constitution and for the legacy of Martin Luther King and his “I have a dream” speech of 1963, and as I say, almost perfect, the missing piece being that I couldn’t find in the opinion the specific words that would have killed all use of racial criteria, which would have been to specifically disavow “diversity as a compelling state interest”, and which is the mantra that saved affirmative action for 45 years, invented by Justice Powell in the Bakke decision of 1978. But I’ll take it, and, along with the elimination of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programs, it will help move higher education back to its true mission.
Now if we can just do the serious work to get K-12 public education to fulfill its role and adopt universal school choice, we can hopefully qualify many more disadvantaged kids to be admitted to these higher education institutions without discriminatory admissions practices.