Affirmative action ruling an attack on equal protection, further undermines democracy


In the Same Way Our Ancestors Persisted and Prevailed, We Too Will Persist and Prevail

NEW YORK – Following the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard, and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina, Race Forward, a leading racial equity organization, issued the following statement:

“Today’s Supreme Court decision on affirmative action makes clear the current U.S. Supreme Court is intent on undermining the Constitutional framework of civil rights by refusing to recognize and address the systemic nature of racism,” stated Glenn Harris, President of Race Forward. “By taking the position that only in the most extreme of circumstances can an institution directly address racial differences in a targeted fashion, the decision ultimately undermines the basic tenets of equal protection and ignores the reality that race shapes every life outcome, including access to higher education.”

Specifically, this decision reduces the question of racism to mere individual experiences, a direct attempt to subvert the historic promise of the 14th Amendment Equal Protection Clause transforming the court from a protector of equality to an enemy of progress. The Court exploits the profound need to address discrimination of Asian students in order to reverse decades of civil rights and further create obstacles for redressing inequalities faced by Black and Latino students.

It should not go without notice that today’s decision leaves intact the advantages afforded to legacy candidates and children of donors - a stark system of racial inequality that advantages white applicants. “The only precedent the Supreme Court seems committed to upholding today,” noted Harris, “is its slide towards a cynical use of the law to maintain racial hierarchies.”

This decision will be utilized by the forces of exclusion to pit communities of color against one another. Leaders of an inclusive America however, understand that at its core this ruling seeks to negate the fundamental responsibility to address racism in all its forms. We remain committed to advancing a society where all benefit from tangible racial equity rather than suffer the consequences of the legalistic contortions of a renegade Court.

We also applaud the dissenting opinions and intellectual leadership of Justice Jackson and Sotomayor that recognize our deep and pervasive racial equity gaps across society. These dissenting opinions today must represent the court of our future with a jurisprudence with integrity that dismantles the systemic racism that affects all communities of color.

About Race Forward  
Race Forward has a forty-year history of advancing racial equity and justice towards a just multiracial democracy. We remain fiercely committed to this goal. Through our H.E.A.L. Together initiative, we have supported parents, students and educators working towards giving our children an honest and inclusive education, rejecting book bans, attacks on LGBTQIA+ students and other efforts to undermine progress. Our racial equity in government supports public servants at all levels of government in their efforts to change the way government works towards producing racially equitable results that improve systems for everyone. In the face of these urgent challenges making our work ever more complicated, we deepen our commitment and conviction to a just multiracial democracy. We must never cease to be part of the historic struggle for the democratic and inclusive governance we deserve, including courts that are responsive to all people.