Op-Ed: The Supreme Court will end affirmative action. What happens next?
The Supreme Court’s decision on Monday will have profound implications for racial preferences in college admissions and for the fairness of our voting system. (“Who cares about free speech?”)
“We’re talking about a federal court overruling a deeply rooted and longstanding policy on the part of the government, a policy that was created before the institution of civil rights,” says the University of Michigan’s Roberta Reiner, an expert on voting and race and director of U-M’s Justice in the Elections Program. As for college-admission policies, Reiner says she “can’t even begin to guess how the Supreme Court will rule.”
Here’s what’s at stake:
* The Constitutionality of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which, in the words of one justice, is “the most comprehensive law in the history of the world to eliminate racial discrimination.”
* The future of affirmative action, a program that “has been around for 60 years, and has been around with a lot of political muscle.”
* The continued viability of race-neutral college admissions, as well as the use of race to improve racial outcomes in the voting system.
Here are five reasons why it’s important to get involved in the Supreme Court’s decision by writing to the Court:
1. The decision will affect the country’s largest and most segregated institution of higher education. It could end the race-based preference in admissions to Ivy League universities and in the admissions of minorities to some non-Ivy schools. It could also weaken affirmative action, a legal program that “has existed for nearly 60 years and has been around with a lot of political muscle,” says Reiner, adding that colleges and universities “are starting to face serious financial pressure and are beginning to consider alternatives.”
2. The decision could be a signal to colleges and universities and to the federal government that