US Supreme Court Overturns Race-Based College Admissions

Supreme Court Justices

      US Supreme Court Overturns Race-Based College Admissions

      In a significant 6-3 decision on June 23, 2023, the US Supreme Court has overturned a long-standing precedent that permitted colleges and universities to consider race as a factor in admissions. This ruling stands as a significant victory for opponents of affirmative action, who have argued that such policies amount to discrimination.

      The case at the center of this ruling, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, had initially been decided by the Supreme Court in 2016. In that ruling, the court upheld the university’s use of race as a factor in admissions but placed strict limitations on its implementation. It held that race could only be one among many factors considered and that universities must demonstrate the necessity of considering race to achieve a diverse student body.


      However, the recent 2023 ruling reverses the court’s earlier decision in Fisher. Justice Clarence Thomas authored the majority opinion, contending that the use of race in college admissions is inherently discriminatory and never necessary. The court further expressed concerns about the negative impact of race-conscious admissions on Asian American students, who are sometimes allegedly overlooked in favor of less qualified white and minority applicants.

      This ruling marks a significant setback for affirmative action, a practice that educational institutions have employed for decades to promote diversity on campuses. Its repercussions will likely be felt most acutely in elite colleges and universities that have been more prone to considering race as an admissions factor.


      Reactions to the ruling are expected to be varied. Supporters of affirmative action argue that it remains a vital tool for addressing racial disparities in education and fear that the ruling will hinder diversity efforts on college campuses. Conversely, opponents assert that affirmative action constitutes reverse discrimination and is unjust to students who may be overlooked based on their race. They believe the ruling will ultimately lead to alternative methods of achieving diversity on campuses, as institutions will be compelled to explore other avenues.

      The ruling will undoubtedly fuel ongoing debates for years to come, as the issue of affirmative action is complex and lacks a straightforward resolution. However, this decision sends a clear message that the Supreme Court is becoming increasingly skeptical of affirmative action. Consequently, it may become more challenging for colleges and universities to employ race-conscious admissions in the future.

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