The U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Thursday, June 29, striking down affirmative action policies for college and university admissions was denounced by local and national leaders representing a broad spectrum of areas.

Vice President Kamala Harris: “Today’s Supreme Court decision in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina is a step backward for our nation. It rolls back long-established precedent and will make it more difficult for students from underrepresented backgrounds to have access to opportunities that will help them fulfill their full potential.
“It is well established that all students benefit when classrooms and campuses reflect the incredible diversity of our Nation. By making our schools less diverse, this ruling will harm the educational experience for all students. Our Nation’s colleges and universities educate and train the next generation of American leaders. Students who sit in classrooms today will be the leaders of our government, military, private sector, and academic institutions tomorrow. Today’s decision will impact our country for decades to come.
“In the wake of this decision, we must work with ever more urgency to make sure that all of our young people have an opportunity to thrive.”

Vice President Kamala Harris (AP/File)

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass: “The Supreme Court’s action today is part of a broader effort to erase the true history of this country and insulate those who have benefited from it. I know our educational institutions here in Los Angeles work to value and defend the absolute necessity of diversity. Our city draws strength from our diversity, and we always will.”

Congresswoman Sydney Kamlager-Dove (File photo)

Congresswoman Sydney Kamlager-Dove: “Today is a dark day for equality and democracy in our nation. This ruling to end affirmative action sets the clock back on civil rights, overturning decades of precedent and establishing a colorblind standard in our justice system that will be detrimental to cases on race and equality in the future. The Court today chose wrong when they ruled to ignore race in a nation that has yet to accept its history rooted in racism.
“The majority of Americans understand that we must address systemic inequalities and right historic wrongs by opening doors to education and employment opportunities for those who have been denied this fundamental privilege.
“The end of affirmative action will impose barriers for many, preventing gains in socioeconomic mobility and plunging us further into a past steeped in racism and injustice. If these are the values of this Court, we must prepare to continue our fight for racial equality as we face attacks from extremists hell-bent on eroding protections for human and civil rights.
“The future of our workforce depends on diversity and equity in education, and today’s decision by the conservative, activist, corrupt Court makes this a more difficult mission. We have an obligation to reverse what this Court has done and defend the right to education and economic prosperity for all people. I will continue my work in Congress to achieve that end.”

Dr Miguel Cardona, U.S. Secretary of Education (File photo)

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona: “Today’s Supreme Court decision takes our country decades backwardsharply limiting a vital tool that colleges have used to create vibrant, diverse campus communities. Students of color have long faced inequities in education and college access, and today’s ruling is yet another blow to the fight for equal opportunity. As we consider today’s decision, our commitment to educational opportunity for all Americans is unshaken, and our efforts to promote diversity in higher education are undeterred. The Department of Education is a civil rights agency, committed to equal access and educational opportunity for all students.”

Related Links:

Bishop Teresa Snorton-Jefferson (File photo)

Bishop Teresa Jefferson-Snorton, Chair, National Council of Churches (NCC) Governing Board: “Refusing to remedy the wrongs of the past does not erase them. It only exacerbates and magnifies the negative effects they have had. Unfortunately, the nation and some of our most vulnerable citizens will pay the price for this egregious ruling.”

Bishop Vashti McKenzie (File photo)

NCC President and General Secretary Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie: “Race has been a factor in making employment, housing, banking, health care and education decisions for centuries in America. The decision by the Supreme Court adds to the pain of marginalized people and pits one group against the other, vying for a few spaces in certain institutions of higher learning. When our colleges, corporations, communities, and country make space for people of diverse backgrounds and experiences to participate fully, it enriches all our lives. This decision undermines ‘liberty and justice for all’ in the face of historical discrimination and rising racism.”

Jaime Harrison (Courtesy photo)

DNC Chair Jaime Harrison: “This is a devastating blow for racial justice and equality, especially as barriers to higher education become more restrictive. We condemn the Supreme Court’s decision to end these affirmative action policies and make it even more difficult for Americans to access higher education. While this decision is a setback in our fight for equal representation, it is not the final word. As Democrats, we know that diversity is one of our country’s greatest strengths and we will continue to fight for equal access to education for all.”

Gloria L. Blackwell (AAUW)

Gloria L. Blackwell, American Association of University Women Chief Executive Officer : “Today’s decision also reflects the increased legislative efforts across the country to suppress diverse perspectives and make access to higher education more difficult for women and people of color. We know from experience that when states have restricted race-conscious admissions, the gains of women and communities of color are pushed back. We have seen how previous bans on affirmative action have had a chilling effect on Black and Latino admissions to colleges and universities.

“Despite today’s Supreme Court decision, AAUW remains committed to ensuring women and communities of color have equal access to quality education at all levels to guarantee equality, individual rights, and social justice for a diverse and inclusive society.”

Nikitra Bailey (Courtesy photo)

Nikitra Bailey, Executive Vice President of the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA): “Despite the course of nearly 50 years of precedent where race could be a factor in college admissions, the U.S. Supreme Court interjected new hurdles for students of color who have overcome structural barriers in pursuit of higher education. Today’s rulings place additional burdens on Black, Latino, API, Native American, and other students of color to prove how systemic discrimination affects them and how their histories can benefit an institution of higher learning. The Court’s decision is likely to result in denying all students the ability to benefit from diverse student bodies that enhance educational experiences.

California Black Women’s Collective Empowerment Institute: “Repair for past historic and systemic discrimination is no longer a consideration. For far too long, California has experienced the negative impact of this ruling as we have seen our acceptance rates plummet post Prop 209. With more than 50% of colleges and universities across the country having a race-based admissions program, this ruling will impact our students who looked outside of our state to find a place in a higher learning environment. It’s imperative that we work collaboratively to dismantle educational and economic barriers in areas rife with institutionalized racism.”

Partnership for Los Angeles Schools: “Affirmative action programs have been instrumental in helping address the historical and systemic inequities that persist in our society. This decision reverses decades of precedent and disregards the disparities in education faced by students and families of color. Based on these factors to obstruct diversity and inclusion, there will be implications for our scholars.

“We will continue to advocate for our students and work hard to dispel misconceptions. There are many false narratives about how race is used in admissions, and we need to work more collectively and closely with counselors and teachers to bring high-quality content and information that support students and families.”

Faith in Action: “Eliminating affirmative action will place higher education out of reach for students impacted by systemic racism their entire lives and, as a result, have been prevented from accessing the same resources as their wealthier, white counterparts.