"With let-them-eat-cake obliviousness, today, the majority pulls the ripcord and announces 'colorblindness for all' by legal fiat. But deeming race irrelevant in law does not make it so in life."
– Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson
Today, the Supreme Court struck down Harvard and UNC's affirmative action policies, restricting the schools' ability to fully address systemic racial inequalities that persist in higher education – and overturning nearly 50 years of precedent.
Let's be clear about this: Our nation's future as a thriving multiracial democracy depends on students having the freedom and opportunity to learn, work together, and understand what unites us.
That's why the ACLU, the ACLU of Massachusetts, and the ACLU of North Carolina filed an amicus brief in these cases in the first place, urging SCOTUS to uphold universities' ability to consider race in college admissions.
Let's also be clear about what this means moving forward: The Court's ruling does not prohibit universities from considering an applicant's discussion of how race affected their life, be it through discrimination, inspiration, or otherwise. Colleges can still consider race as long as they do so in this manner.
Our institutions of higher education now must double down to ensure every student gets a fair shot moving forward. Universities must recommit to expanding opportunity by:
- Eliminating use of standardized test scores in admissions
- Increasing guaranteed financial support
- Broadening recruitment efforts to underserved communities
- Developing robust middle and high school pipelines
The ACLU will continue to fight to remove the barriers and inequities Black, Latino, Native American, Asian American, and other underrepresented groups experience – not only in higher education, but throughout the K-12 system.
To that end, we'll be back with action you can take soon, but for now thank you for staying informed and staying with us in the fight for the rights and equality of us all.