The U.S. Supreme Court issued a 6-3 ruling on Thursday declaring that race cannot be taken into account when making college admissions decisions. This decision has prompted a range of opinions from politicians representing both sides of the aisle.
From the White House, President Joe Biden stated that he "strongly, strongly" disagrees with the Supreme Court's decision, and that the court "upended decades of precedent that enabled America's colleges and universities to build vibrant diverse environments."
President Biden was briefed by counsel and met with senior staff following the decision. Officials met with stakeholders, including civil rights organizations and universities, according to White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. The White House worked with the DOJ and education department on a response.
The president said that the Supreme Court does not hold "the last word," as he announced actions aimed at promoting educational opportunity and diversity in colleges and universities. The plan will offer colleges and universities clear guidelines regarding permissible admissions practices and supplementary initiatives to aid students, with the objective of enhancing transparency in the processes of college admissions and enrollment.
Biden is asking schools to consider adversity, including financial means, where a student grew up and personal experiences of hardship or discrimination.
Additionally, the Department of Education and Department of Justice plan to provide resources over the next 45 days to schools on lawful admission practices and help with programs supporting underserved communities. The Department of Education will also host a national summit on equal opportunity, bringing together stakeholders, and release a report following the summit on admissions practices.
Meanwhile, Republican presidential contender Nikki Haley was among the first to share her opinion, praising the ruling and saying in a released statement, "Picking winners and losers based on race is fundamentally wrong. This decision will help every student—no matter their background—have a better opportunity to achieve the American Dream."
Haley's sentiment was shared by her political rival, former Vice President and presidential candidate, Mike Pence, who said, "I am honored to have played a role in appointing three of the Justices that ensured today's welcomed decision, and as President, I will continue to appoint judges who will strictly apply the law rather than twisting it to serve woke and progressive ends."
Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy shared similar views, saying that the ruling will "make the college admissions process fairer and uphold equality under the law."
As expected, Democrats and Republicans are divided in this opinion, with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer saying "Supreme Court's ruling put a giant roadblock in America's march toward racial justice" and predicted that students of color "will face an admission cycle next year with fewer opportunities." Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez lashed out at the Supreme Court Justices, saying their claims of being colorblind are "ludicrous."
"If SCOTUS was serious about their ludicrous "colorblindness" claims, they would have abolished legacy admissions, aka affirmative action for the privileged. 70% of Harvard’s legacy applicants are white. SCOTUS didn’t touch that - which would have impacted them and their patrons," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.
And lastly, former presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump had drastically different takes on the matter.
"Like any policy, affirmative action wasn't perfect. But it allowed generations of students like Michelle and me to prove we belonged. Now it's up to all of us to give young people the opportunities they deserve and help students everywhere benefit from new perspectives," Obama said in a statement.
While Trump took to his social media platform to say, "This is the ruling everyone was waiting and hoping for, and the result was amazing. It will also keep us competitive with the rest of the world."
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