By Daniel Stefanski |
The U.S. Supreme Court saved one of the biggest opinions of the term for its second-to-last day, and its decision triggered reactions on both sides of the aisle in Arizona.
When the nation’s high court handed down its highly anticipated ruling in Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard College, it made a significant correction in the standards for admissions systems used by public universities around the United States. The Court held that race-based standards in Harvard’s and UNC’s admissions programs “violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”
Writing for the majority coalition of the Court, Chief Justice John Roberts stated, “…the student must be treated based on his or her experiences as an individual – not on the basis of race. Many universities have for too long done just the opposite. And in doing so, they have concluded, wrongly, that the touchstone of an individual’s identity is not challenges bested, skills built, or lessons learned but the color of their skin. Our constitutional history does not tolerate that choice.”
The historic decision by the Supreme Court, drew reactions from Arizona’s politicians on both side of the aisle.
In response to an inquiry from AZ Free News, Senate President Warren Petersen replied, “This is a great decision for the fight against discrimination. The highest court in the land agreed with Martin Luther King Jr. in that you should not be judged by the color of your skin. An individual should be considered for college admissions based on academics, experience, qualifications and character—not by race. I’m thrilled this ruling will bring some sanity back to institutions of higher learning.”
Senate President Pro Tempore T.J. Shope told AZ Free News, “SCOTUS made the right decision today. As the proud son of a Mexican American mother and a white father of German ancestry, our family always knew that we should be judged on our character and not our color. We’re all Americans and we all share a responsibility in keeping this country free of racism & bigotry.”
Democrats, however, took issue with the Court’s ruling. Senate Democratic Leader Mitzi Epstein released a statement after the opinion’s revelation, saying, “Affirmative Action has never been about jumping to the front of the line without any merit. It has been about providing a ladder of equity to help those who have faced adversity in education, the workplace, housing, and every aspect of American life. Affirmative Action has been about providing opportunities for students who are Black and Brown to attend colleges, and for college students to live, love and learn among diverse peers. The same people celebrating this bad Court decision have been actively trying to whitewash history and walk America back to the book-burning past. SCOTUS did not rule against legacy admissions, employee and family recommendations, and grandiose donor admissions. The Court ruled to allow favoritism, but not favoritism for those who have faced racist obstacles. The Court ruled for the favored to get more favors, just as Republican politicians have pushed ways for the rich to get richer, and for the powerful to get more power.”
Democrat Representative Analise Ortiz called the Court’s opinion “devastating,” adding that “this ruling upholds white supremacy in higher education and the workforce. Simultaneously, the efforts to privatize K-12 education and drain public schools of funding achieve the same end. We must fight back to ensure racial equity in education.”
Kimberly Yee, the State’s Republican Treasurer, also weighed in on the news of the day, writing, “I applaud the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to keep merit, character and academic achievement the center point of college admissions. The American Dream is attained by putting in the honest, hard work. No one should be able to cut ahead of the line in the name of affirmative action, based on the color of their skin. This decision upholds the core Constitutional principle that no institution in America is allowed to discriminate based on race.”
Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.