Today, the Supreme Court’s conservative majority once again reversed itself and erased centuries of legal precedent to outlaw race-conscious admissions policies for both public and private colleges. The pair of cases, Students for Fair Admissions v. President & Fellows of Harvard College and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina, were brought by a conservative advocacy organization. Lower courts found that race was used in a sufficiently limited way to not constitute discrimination, and that the schools had a compelling interest in ensuring diversity on their campuses. This is the same legal rationale that has been used to protect race-conscious admissions since the 1970s, and such policies have been defended by the Supreme Court repeatedly, even as recently as 2016.
Nothing has changed regarding the facts of these cases, only the makeup of the Court. The activist judges of the conservative majority, handpicked by the Federalist Society and rubber stamped by Donald Trump, have jumped at the chance to legislate from the bench. In this instance the Supreme Court intervened before the cases could even be heard by a federal appeals court. The unprecedented, raw politicization of our Nation’s highest court is a direct result of gaming of the confirmation process by Senate Republicans, and a powerful reminder that the negative consequences of elections disproportionately affect communities that are already deeply structurally disadvantaged, such as communities of color, the LGBTQ+ community, and others.
“Thanks to the extreme actions taken by the Supreme Court to subvert and upend precedent in this case and others, if Republicans take control of the White House and Senate in 2024 they will have the terrible opportunity to legislate away our most basic human rights,” said Maine Democratic Party Chair Bev Uhlenhake. “Republicans are campaigning on promises to take away our freedoms and roll back decades of progress that have benefited all Americans. That’s why we as Democrats are fighting back and working to hold them accountable for their extreme positions.”