Washington — The Supreme Court’s landmark decisionin higher education prompted sharp dissents from two members of the court’s liberal wing, Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ketanji Brown Jackson.
In the highly anticipated ruling, the court’s conservative majority invalidated the race-conscious admissions programs at Harvard College, the nation’s oldest private school, and the University of North Carolina, the oldest public school, finding they were unconstitutional.
The court’s rejection of affirmative action in college admissions is likely to reshape how higher education institutions across the country consider applicants, as colleges and universities can no longer use race as a factor in their admissions’ decisions.
Chief Justice John Roberts, who authored the, said universities can, however, consider a students’ discussion of how race affected his or her life, such as in application essays.
The Supreme Courtin the two cases involving Harvard and the University of North Carolina, though Jackson took no part in the consideration of the dispute involving Harvard.
She and Sotomayor, who read her opinion allowed from the bench, did not mince words in criticizing the decision from the Supreme Court’s six-justice conservative majority.
“With let-them-eat-cake obliviousness, today, the majority pulls the ripcord and announces ‘colorblindness for all’ by legal fiat,” Jackson wrote. “But deeming race irrelevant in law does not make it so in life.”
Sotomayor, meanwhile, warned the decision will have a “devastating impact” on the nation, as the majority’s “vision of race neutrality will entrench racial segregation in higher education because racial inequality will persist so long as it is ignored.”
Read the full dissents from Sotomayor and Jackson, whose dissent begins on page 70 below: