The Supreme Court on Thursday struck down admissions programs at Harvard and the University of North Carolina that relied in part on racial considerations, saying they violate the Constitution.
The votes split along ideological grounds, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts writing for the conservative members in the majority, and the liberals dissenting.
“The student must be treated based on his or her experiences as an individual—not on the basis of race,” Roberts wrote. “Many universities have for too long done just the opposite. And in doing so, they have concluded, wrongly, that the touchstone of an individual’s identity is not challenges bested, skills built, or lessons learned but the color of their skin. Our constitutional history does not tolerate that choice.”
The justices deciding whether affirmative action recognizes and nourishes a multicultural nation, or impermissibly divides Americans by race, represent the most diverse Supreme Court in history. It is composed of four White men, two White women, one Black man, one Black woman and a Latina.