Calm down, affirmative action supporters, calm down. Yes, the Supreme Court just gave every state the authority to ban affirmative action in college admissions if they so choose. Yes, Stephen Breyer sided with the majority. Yes, this all looks incredibly bad if you think that race should be at least as allowable a consideration for admission as whether or not an applicant’s daddy went to the school.
But nothing is f**ked here dude. Not really. Colleges will still use some form of race-conscious admissions policies, even state schools. Affirmative action works and nothing that happened today will change that. The Court just made it more likely that admissions committees will have to get creative when putting together a diverse class of students…
Reason #1: It’s Up To The Voters
The Supreme Court didn’t rule that affirmative action is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court ruled that banning affirmative action is not unconstitutional. That’s a key difference instead of just lawyer double-negative, double-speak.
The way the majority saw it, if you ban people from banning affirmative action, you are essentially mandating its use. You’re essentially making affirmative action a constitutional requirement, instead of merely making it a constitutional allowance.
So, from a certain point of view, all the Supreme Court did was allow voters to not have these policies in their state if they don’t want to. If voters in all 50 states want to ban the use of affirmative action, they certainly have the right to do so under the constitution. But if they want to have affirmative action, they can do that too. That’s important. There are conservatives on the Court who certainly want to make affirmative action unconstitutional, but that didn’t happen today.