U.S. Supreme Court Strikes Down Affirmative Action In College Admissions, Sparking Controversy

U.S. Supreme Court Strikes Down Affirmative Action In College Admissions, Sparking Controversy

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a significant ruling, announced on June 29, has struck down affirmative action in college admissions, impacting federally funded schools across the nation. The conservative majority on the Court concluded that universities had prioritized race over other factors, violating constitutional principles. This decision marks a significant shift in affirmative action policies that have been in place for 45 years.

The Supreme Court’s decision has overturned previous cases that allowed the use of race as a factor in admissions plans at prestigious institutions like Harvard and the University of North Carolina. The ruling deems race-conscious admissions as unconstitutional and violating the law applying to federally funded colleges, which encompasses most educational institutions. The Court highlighted the need to prioritize challenges overcome, skills developed, and lessons learned by individuals rather than their racial background.

Justice Clarence Thomas Votes To Strike Down Affirmative Action

Justice Clarence Thomas, the sole African American male Justice on the Supreme Court, voted to strike down affirmative action. In his statement, Justice Thomas expressed his belief in the principles of equality enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution:

“While I am painfully aware of the social and economic ravages which have befallen my race and all who suffer discrimination,” Justice Thomas said, “I hold out enduring hope that this country will live up to its principles so clearly enunciated in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States: that all men are created equal, are equal citizens and must be treated equally before the law.” 

While his vote may come as no surprise, given his previous stance against affirmative action, it raised questions among many, considering his own experiences with the policy.

The Ruling

The ruling generated widespread discussion on social media platforms and in news broadcasts, with opinions ranging from support to criticism. Popular sports broadcaster Stephen A. Smith shared his personal review of Justice Thomas’s ascent to the Supreme Court, highlighting Thomas’s acceptance into Yale’s law school program through affirmative action.

“What specifically makes it worst, without question is Clarence Thomas” the ESPN broadcaster stated. Others like NAACP President Derrick Johnson slammed Justice Thomas and his ruling on Affirmative Action. “The worst thing about affirmative action is that it created a Clarence Thomas,” Johnson said. 

Under the Supreme Court’s decision, colleges and universities are no longer allowed to consider race as a factor in admissions. However, the Court clarified that applicants can still provide personal commentary on how their race and heritage have influenced their lives, as long as it is tied to their character or unique abilities that they can bring to a school.

The Biden Administration expressed opposition to the Supreme Court’s ruling and announced their commitment to supporting colleges and universities in their efforts to build diverse student bodies. They aim to guide educational institutions in navigating the new ruling and understanding the boundaries of what they can and cannot do in terms of admissions.

Meet Ketanji Jackson: The First Black Woman Justice

Reflecting on the recent Supreme Court ruling on affirmative action, it is worth looking back at Justice Ketanji Jackson, who made history as the first black woman to serve as a Justice on the Supreme Court. Her appointment marked a significant milestone for diversity and representation within the highest court in the land.

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