On the second to last day of its term, the Supreme Court fulfilled its duty to uphold the guarantees of equal protection of the 14th Amendment when it threw out the race-based admission policies of Harvard College and the University of North Carolina, finally ending the morally repugnant racial discrimination practiced by numerous colleges and universities. This fundamentally just decision will be welcomed by families nationwide, particularly those with high school-graduating sons and daughters aspiring to attend college.
The outrage and hysteria expressed by academia, the media and the progressive left is eerily similar to the reaction of White segregationists after the Supreme Court’s 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education. That decision ended the pernicious “separate but equal doctrine” sanctioned by the Supreme Court in 1896’s Plessy v. Ferguson, one of the worst decisions ever rendered by the court. Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote the majority opinion in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard, said that decision was part of the “ignoble history” of the court that helped “deface much of America.”
The modern version of discrimination that has defaced much of America has been the practice of universities like Harvard and UNC to use race as a determining factor in the admission of many of its students, benefiting some students and punishing others, such as the Asian-American students who sued both universities. These schools had deliberate discriminatory policies intended to prevent highly qualified Asian-American students from being admitted while allowing students of other races with lower qualifications and credentials to be accepted.
Why? Because they were either the right or the wrong skin color.
This is the blatant discrimination that President Biden was defending when he attacked the Supreme Court’s decision and claimed it is “not a normal court,” whatever that is supposed to mean. But his unapologetic and fervent support for allowing academic institutions to continue to discriminate based on race in favor of, or against, students applying to college is shameful coming from the president who takes an oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.”
In Biden’s eyes, that does not include the 14th Amendment. Section 1 of that amendment says that no American can be denied “the equal protection of the law.” Yet, that is exactly what Biden and the three dissenting liberal justices want to do.
Biden’s claim that this Supreme Court has done “more to unravel basic human rights and basic decisions than any court in history” is particularly outrageous. It is the university administrators who are trying to unravel basic human rights by saying that educational institutions can, and should, discriminate against students based on their race.
The very justification of universities for such discrimination is racist. They claim it provides a diversity of thought and viewpoint. But as the chief justice pointed out in his majority opinion, this is based on the “offensive and demeaning assumption that (students) of a particular race, because of their race, think alike.”
Unfortunately, given their fervent support for discriminatory admissions policies, and the support they will no doubt receive from the Justice Department, it seems likely that academic institutions will do everything they can to engage in massive resistance to this decision. Before doing so, they might want to recall some more “ignoble history.”
After the Brown decision, White segregationist Democratic senator Harry Byrd of Virginia orchestrated a coalition of nearly 100 Southern politicians, signing the “Southern Manifesto.” The manifesto was an agreement aimed at “massive resistance” to Brown to show “the rest of the country … that racial integration is not going to be accepted in the South.”
Are those complaining so vociferously about this decision going to try to engage in massive resistance? Are the presidents of the universities using these biased admissions policies going to continue to discriminate, finding a way to disguise what they are doing? They not only have a legal obligation to stop discriminating but a moral one as well.
There is no concept of “original sin” in our jurisprudence, and there is no justification whatsoever for students who have worked hard, done well, and never participated in any discriminatory practices that occurred generations in the past to be discriminated against when they are applying to colleges based on the color of their skin.
This piece originally appeared in the DC Journal