The Supreme Court of the United States has issued a significant ruling, prohibiting Harvard University and the University of North Carolina (UNC) from using racial preferences in their admissions process.
Chief Justice John Roberts, in the majority opinion, emphasized that any advantages given to students who have overcome racial discrimination should be based on their personal experiences, bravery, and perseverance, rather than their race. He criticized universities for prioritizing skin color over individual growth, skills, and achievements, arguing that this approach contradicts the principles of the Constitution.
Roberts wrote, “Eliminating racial discrimination means eliminating all of it. Accordingly, the Court has held that the Equal Protection Clause applies ‘without regard to any differences of race, of color, or of nationality’—it is ‘universal in [its] application.’ The guarantee of equal protection cannot have different meanings based on an individual’s color.”
The cases brought before the Supreme Court in 2014 involved a coalition of students, prospective applicants, and concerned parents who challenged the affirmative action policies of these universities, claiming they violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. The court ruled in favor of the students, applicants, and parents, overturning their previous 2003 decision in Grutter v. Bollinger, which had upheld affirmative action in university admissions.
It is worth noting that in the 2003 case, the late liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg predicted that racial preferences would no longer be necessary to achieve student body diversity within 25 years. Although that timeframe has not yet elapsed, a significant amount of time has passed since the decision.
The implementation of quotas for specific groups is not a new occurrence. As early as the 1920s, Ivy League institutions attempted to impose quotas to limit the admission of Jewish students to their prestigious universities. The present-day quota system, known as affirmative action, has also disproportionately affected highly qualified Asian Americans in the university admissions process.