While the US Supreme Court’s June 27 decision striking down race-conscious admissions programs at Harvard and the University of North Carolina does not directly apply to private employers, the decision will reverberate and impact corporate ID&E programs as a practical matter.
The Decision Ends Systematic Consideration of Race in the Admissions Process
Striking down the affirmative action programs at Harvard and UNC, the Court ruled that both programs violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. In so doing, the Court effectively overturned the 2003 ruling in Grutter v. Bollinger, in which it said race could be considered as a factor in the admissions process because universities had a compelling interest in maintaining diverse campuses.
In his concurring opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas called the programs “rudderless, race-based preferences designed to ensure a particular racial mix in the entering classes.” Both policies “fly in the face of our colorblind Constitution and our nation’s equality ideal,” he added.
In a dissenting opinion, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the Court’s first Black female justice, said: “With let-them-eat-cake obliviousness, today, the majority pulls the ripcord and announces ‘colorblindness for all’ by legal fiat. But deeming race irrelevant in law does not make it so in life.”Continue Reading ID&E in the Workplace After the Supreme Court Guts Affirmative Action in Higher Education