The Supreme Court just ruled that affirmative action in university admission violates the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution.
The ruling was 6-3, with the six Republican-appointed justices voting to strike down affirmative action. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority decision.
The impact of the decision is enormous … no longer can private or public universities in the United States expressly consider race as a factor in admissions. Many supporters of affirmative action fear that higher education in America will now significantly favor white and Asian students, and largely exclude other minority groups.
The Court did say, however, that schools may still consider non-race-based factors such as socio-economic diversity and diversity of experiences, so it is unlikely universities will return to the days of old when they were the exclusive bastion of rich, white kids.
Affirmative action was never a complete answer in the drive towards a more just society. But for generations of students who had been systematically excluded from most of America’s key institutions—it gave us the chance to show we more than deserved a seat at the table.
The ruling today effectively overturns one of the most significant cases in Supreme Court history – University of California v. Bakke – in which the Court said that racial diversity among a university’s student body is such a compelling public good, that it justifies admissions systems that favor underrepresented minorities.