Supreme Court Seems Ready to Throw Out Affirmative Action Programs
“If, before today, the court had any serious doubt that states’ race-conscious admissions schemes were constitutional, that doubt has largely been dispelled by today’s opinion,” said Robert C. Tucker, a University of San Francisco law professor who has argued in support of affirmative action cases.
“The court’s opinion in this case puts the lie to the notion that states’ race-conscious admissions schemes continue to be constitutional,” he said.
The case is Texas v. United States, in which the court ruled 6-3 that the Texas school board’s policies were unconstitutional because of their disparate treatment of white and nonwhite students and because of the use of racial balancing procedures.
The Supreme Court’s ruling “is a stunning disappointment for minorities trying to benefit from race-conscious policies,” said Marc Mauer, the president of the National Center for Equal Opportunity. “It’s time for the justices of the United States to get off their high horses and recognize that the system is broken and it only gets worse when people with money are involved in the process.”
Although the Texas case involves only a Texas school board, the ruling could affect similar case-by-case decisions on affirmative action in other states.
The court’s opinion follows closely on the heels of its denial of petitions for review filed by a group of nine students, who wanted the Supreme Court to hear their case. The court has now granted certiorari to hear the case of an eight-year-old boy from San Francisco seeking to overturn his racial quota for admission to a public elementary school. The court is considering whether the state’s racial quota was necessary to promote diversity in the education system.
As the court is deciding the racial quota cases, there seems to be little hope that the court will ever reverse its view that affirmative action is unconstitutional.
In a statement issued by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, he wrote, “The court today rejects the government’s contention that race-neutral alternative mechanisms, like selection procedures and remedial admissions policies, can never provide a sound basis for school board decisionmaking.”
Kennedy said he felt the court’s decision may have “a major impact on other cases involving racial classification