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The U.S. Supreme Court prohibits the use of racial criteria in college admissions. The ruling was criticized by Joe Biden

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The US Supreme Court issued a landmark decision prohibiting universities from favoring representatives of discriminated racial minorities in recruitment. In this way, he reversed the decades-old policy of “affirmative action” aimed at leveling the playing field. US President Joe Biden assessed that the ruling set back decades of progress. He added that this is yet another court decision that goes against well-established precedents.

American Supreme Court found that the admissions programs of Harvard and North Carolina universities granting extra credits in admissions to black, Hispanic and Native American students are incompatible with the 14th amendment to the Constitution, guaranteeing equal protection of the law for all citizens.

This amendment was passed after the Civil War to guarantee the rights of freed black slaves. Although the decision concerns two institutions, it applies to all universities in the country.

– The student must be treated based on his experience as a person, not based on his race. Many universities have been doing the opposite for too long. And in doing so, it concluded erroneously that the criterion of a person’s identity was not the challenges they had overcome, the skills they had acquired, and the lessons they had learned, but the color of their skin. Our constitutional history does not tolerate such a choice, said Chief Justice John Roberts in the majority opinion.

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The U.S. Supreme Court banned the use of racial criteria in college admissionsSHAWN THEW/PAP/EPA

The court adopted the decision by a 6-3 vote, according to their ideological divisions – the conservative six appointed by the Republican presidents voted in favor, the judges appointed by the Democrats against. Representing the liberal minority, Sonia Sotomayor – the first Hispanic Supreme Court judge in history – said that with her decision, “the Court overturns the constitutional guarantee of equal protection by further strengthening racial inequalities in education, the very basis of our democratic state and pluralistic society.”

Sentence abolishes ‘affirmative action’ policy

Thursday’s ruling is a reversal of previous court rulings in similar cases, most recently in 2016. It also heralds the end of decades-long “affirmative action” policies.

Its supporters claim that it equalizes the chances of historically discriminated minorities, critics – that it discriminates against the majority, as well as students with Asian roots.

Some colleges and states have already abandoned this policy. As Axios writes, after the state of Michigan banned such practices, the number of admissions of African Americans dropped dramatically.

Biden criticizes the Supreme Court ruling

The verdict provoked contradictory reactions from politicians. The Democratic leader in the Senate said the decision “put a gigantic obstacle in our country’s march towards racial justice.”

Republican Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy praised the court, saying that “now students will be able to compete based on equal standards and individual merit” and it will make the admissions process fairer.

Today, the court has once again moved away from decades of precedent and, as the dissenting opinion makes clear, it “returns decades of precedent and important progress.” I agree with that opinion, he said Joe Biden in a speech at the White House.


The president noted that the policy, called “affirmative action,” applied to students who met all other criteria and was intended to promote diversity and “open opportunities for every American.”

He announced that he had ordered the Department of Education to prepare guidelines for universities so that they could continue to be guided by the goal of creating a diverse student population. This is to consist, for example, in the recruitment process of taking into account the obstacles that a given student had to overcome in his life.

He added that although universities should be “motors of social advancement”, they often only perpetuate inequalities. He referred to statistics according to which students from families that are among the 1 percent. Top earners are 77 times more likely to get into college than those in the bottom 20 percent of earners.

When asked by a journalist whether, in the face of another controversial judgment of the Supreme Court – incl. after the federal abortion law was abolished – the court lost its legitimacy, Biden replied: “This is not a normal court.”

Main photo source: SHAWN THEW/PAP/EPA

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