United States: the Supreme Court puts an end to positive discrimination in American universities

A victory for the American right. The very conservative Supreme Court of the United States put an end, Thursday, June 29, to the programs of positive discrimination at the university, a new historic U-turn, a year after its reversal on abortion. Against the advice of its three progressive judges, its six conservative magistrates ruled unconstitutional the admission procedures on campuses taking into account the color of the skin or the ethnic origin of the candidates.

Many universities “have wrongly considered that the basis of a person’s identity is not his or her trial, skills acquired or lessons learned, but the color of their skin. Our constitutional history does not condone That”wrote magistrate John Roberts on behalf of the majority. “In other words, the student must be treated according to his individual experiences, but not according to racial criteria.”

‘A great day for America’, says Trump

Several highly selective universities had introduced racial and ethnic criteria in their admissions procedure in the late 1960s to correct inequalities stemming from the segregationist past of the United States and to increase the share of black, Hispanic or Native American students in their numbers. These policies, called “positive discrimination”, have always been highly criticized in conservative circles who consider them opaque and see in them “reverse racism”.

In reaction, Joe Biden said in “strong disagreement” with this decision. The universities “should not abandon their commitment to ensuring that students have diverse experiences that reflect all of America”, said the American president. Former President Donald Trump, for his part, welcomed the Court’s decision, saying that it restored a system to the “deserved”. “It’s a great day for America”, he wrote on his Truth Social platform. “It’s the decision that everyone was waiting for and hoping for and the result is incredible (…). We come back to (a system) completely merit-based and that’s how it should be!”he added.

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“An artificial rule of indifference”

Referred to on several occasions since 1978, the Supreme Court had prohibited quotas, but had always authorized universities to take into account, among other things, racial criteria. Until now, she judged “legit” the search for greater diversity on campuses, even if it means violating the principle of equality between all American citizens.

Thursday, the progressive magistrates were deeply moved by this volte-face. The courtyard “returns on decades of jurisprudence and immense progress”, wrote, on their behalf, Judge Sonia Sotomayor. She “cements an artificial rule of indifference to skin color as a constitutional principle in a deeply segregated society, where race has always mattered and will continue to matter”she asserts again.

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