Ranking Member Scott Statement on SCOTUS Ruling on Affirmative Action

Justice Sotomayor: “Ignoring race will not equalize a society that is racially unequal. What was true in the 1860s, and again in 1954, is true today: Equality requires acknowledgment of inequality.”

WASHINGTON – Ranking Member Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) released the following statement after the Supreme Court ruled in the cases of Students for Fair Admissions v. President & Fellows of Harvard College and Students for Fair Admissions v. UNC.

“The Supreme Court has long held that our nation has a compelling interest in fostering racially diverse campuses.  Holistic college admissions practices that narrowly tailor the use of race as one of many factors in evaluating prospective students are a key to fostering such diversity in higher education.  Such admissions policies not only support historically underserved students—research confirms that diverse campuses also provide all students with a quality, well-rounded education.  Today the Supreme Court decided, with little regard for the repercussions, that institutions of higher education cannot pursue these compelling interests.

“Regrettably, the Supreme Court’s decision to end the consideration of race as a factor in college admissions is a significant setback in our effort to eliminate disparities in access to higher education and ensure diverse learning environments for all students.  It is now imperative that we review other facets in college admissions that research shows are racially discriminatory and have a disparate impact and determine if they too need to be eliminated, given today’s ruling.

“Race-conscious admissions policies provided a counterbalance to these discriminatory factors—such as inequitable K-12 schools, racially biased admissions tests, and developmental and legacy admissions—that all marginalize students of color. Now that the Court has invalidated that balance, I call on the Attorney General to start filing cases now against any current school practices that violate the Equal Protection Clause and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act because they have discriminatory impact.”

In May, Ranking Member Scott hosted a briefing with experts on the implications of the SCOTUS cases and the future of the consideration of race in college admissions. Furthermore, Ranking Member Scott introduced legislation, the Equity and Inclusion and Enforcement Act, which would restore the right of students and parents to hold schools accountable for discrimination in education. 

To read Justice Sotomayor’s dissent, click here.

To read Mr. Scott’s GAO report on school segregation, which found more than a third of public school students attend a racially segregated school, click here


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