Op-Ed: The Supreme Court will end affirmative action. What happens next? By Daniel J. O’Cler’.
In a decision likely to have a long-ranging impact on the U.S. Supreme Court, the justices announced Thursday afternoon they will end affirmative action.
The ruling from the nation’s highest court comes just a few months after Justice Antonin Scalia died, and as the presidential election approached.
The case before the court was NAACP v. American Medical Association, in which the plaintiffs appealed a federal court ruling requiring the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio to admit the school’s students based on race.
The University appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court.
In a 4-3 opinion, the Supreme Court on Thursday concluded that it’s unconstitutional to use “race” in the admissions process.
The University had argued it needed to use race as a factor in admissions so it could admit racial minorities. The court disagreed, saying the “distinction drawn is based on a forbidden classification”: race in this case.
The Supreme Court’s ruling comes after the court’s conservative majority began to shift toward a harder line on affirmative action, and away from giving weight to race in admissions decisions.
Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion in a concurring opinion joined by the liberal justices Clarence Thomas and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. He said the court erred when it concluded “to give weight to particular races, particular races are given ‘weight.’”
“To give weight means to give a certain level of significance, and a preference,” Kennedy wrote. “The opinion here concludes that a preference is to be given to students belonging to particular racial groups. In the process, it gives weight to those groups.”
In dissent, Justice Stephen Breyer wrote that the court majority “conceals the true meaning of its holding”: “The Court has substituted a ‘right’ for a ‘desire.’”
Breyer continued, calling the court’s decision, “an alarming and tragic precedent,” as it could eventually lead to other changes to the admissions process, such as eliminating the consideration of race in admissions.
“There is nothing wrong with using race in admissions