SCOTUS Ends Affirmative Action in Colleges

( – The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has decided in what many consider to be a landmark decision, that “affirmative action” – a racial preference that was the subject of the SCOTUS 1978 Bakke decision – gives advantages to “people of colour” that violate the Equal Protection Clause of the US Constitution. The decision also referenced Title VI of the Civil Rights Act 1964. This could have major implications in the field of law and public policy.

Since 1978, there have been many debates on whether to approach the subject by using point systems, quotas, or a myriad of other ways to give preference to one person over another based on the colour of their skin. The Supreme Court has upheld some of these approaches, but not all. Conservatives in general and Republicans in particular have asserted that the Constitution does not allow for any of these approaches, and it appears they have now been vindicated.

The Equal Protection Clause is to be found in the Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution, and states that equal protection shall be afforded to all persons within the jurisdiction of the state. No state in the US shall be permitted to deny equal protection – and this applies to local and state public universities.

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act 1964 also applies to any institution that accepts grants, tuition aid, or anything else that is funded by federal tax dollars, such as private colleges and universities.

A number of lawsuits were filed against both public and private schools by the group Students for Fair Admission. The Supreme Court decision was based on two of these challenges, which referenced the admissions policy for the University of North Carolina (UNC) and also Harvard University. The UNC challenge was based on the Fourteenth Amendment, while the Harvard challenge was based on Title VI.

Now the SCOTUS majority decision has determined that the admissions policies of both the UNC and Harvard were unconstitutional.

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