Supreme Court Rules Against Race-Based College Admissions

The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that the affirmative action admission policies of Harvard and the University of North Carolina are unconstitutional, violating the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.

In the majority opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that both Harvard’s and UNC’s affirmative action programs “unavoidably employ race in a negative manner, involve racial stereotyping, and lack meaningful end points.”

Over the years, proponents of race-based admissions have argued that the policy ensures that student bodies are diverse, while critics have argued the policy unfairly discriminates against more qualified students based on race.

“We have never permitted admissions programs to work in that way, and we will not do so today,” Roberts wrote in the opinion.

The cases against Harvard and University of North Carolina were separate but related and brought by Students for Fair Admissions (, a student activist group.

The group initially sued Harvard College in 2014 for violating Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which “prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin in any program or activity that receives Federal funds or other Federal financial assistance.”

The complaint against Harvard alleged that the school’s practices penalized Asian American students, and that they failed to employ race-neutral practices. The North Carolina case raised the issue of whether the university could reject the use of non-race-based practices without showing that they would bring down the school’s academic quality or negatively impact the benefits gained from campus diversity.

The First Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled in Harvard’s favor, upholding the outcome of a district court bench trial. The district court said that the evidence against Harvard was inconclusive and “the observed discrimination” affected only a small pool of Asian American students. It ruled that SFFA did not have standing in the case.

SFFA argued that Harvard’s Affirmative Action policies had resulted in “astonishing racial disparities in admission rates among similarly qualified applicants.”

In the UNC case, the vote was 6-3 with the three liberals voting in favor of race based admissions. In the Harvard case the vote was 6-2 after Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson recused herself due to her previous role on Harvard’s Board of Overseers.

In her scathing dissent, Jackson called the ruling “truly a tragedy for us all.”

Justice Clarence Thomas blasted Brown’s arguments in his concurrence.

Following the SCOTUS decision, former president Barack Obama released a statement arguing that affirmative action “allowed generations of students like Michelle and me to prove we belonged.”

Chief Justice Roberts has long argued that “the best way to stop discrimination is to stop discriminating,” according to George Washington University Law Professor Johnathan Turley.

Heritage Foundation senior fellows Hans von Spakovsky, Sarah Parshall Perry, and Mike Gonzalez released the following statement praising the ruling:

“For far too long, racial preferences benefiting certain students have been abused in college admissions to racially discriminate against other students and deny them equal educational opportunities. Today’s decision by the Supreme Court helps reverse decades of repugnant discriminatory conduct exercised by administrators who punished or rewarded students based not on their credentials, qualifications, and hard work, but on the color of their skin. This is the biggest win for colorblind education since Brown v. Board of Education.”

“More policy changes are necessary, as many school administrators have ignored or skirted laws that abolish racial preferences in hiring or admission decisions. As we look for ways of improving student performance, lawmakers should consider the importance of other factors including opportunities for school choice, the home environments of students, their access to technology, and more. Any discussion of achievement gaps must consider factors other than race to pass statutory and constitutional muster. This decision offers a wonderful opportunity to adopt an all-of-society focus on family formation and other background variables that produce disparities.”

“Woke university administrators are now on notice that racial discrimination and the biased admissions systems they implemented no longer have a place in America.”


On Twitter, Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey announced that he is taking immediate action to enforce the Supreme Court’s ruling.


In a remarks at the White House responding to the ruling, Joe Biden denied that affirmative action policies resulted in unqualified students being admitted into college.

When asked by a left-wing reporter if “this is a rogue court, Biden replied, “this is not a normal court.”

The SCOTUS decision did leave an opening for woke universities to exploit, Professor William Jacobson of Legal Insurrection noted on Twitter:

U.S. Capitol Police have evacuated the area around the Supreme Court after a suspicious package was found on the steps.


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About Debra Heine

Debra Heine is a conservative Catholic mom of six and longtime political pundit. She has written for several conservative news websites over the years, including Breitbart and PJ Media.

Photo: Education supporters demonstrate outside the US Supreme Court on June 29, 2023, in Washington, DC. The US Supreme Court on Thursday banned the use of race and ethnicity in university admissions, dealing a major blow to a decades-old practice that boosted educational opportunities for African-Americans and other minorities. (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)