26 Jan 2022 Supreme Court “Now Has a Chance to Get It Right” Regarding Race Preferences in School Admissions
Project 21’s Black Conservatives Had Asked Justices to Reexamine Case
Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear two cases concerning racial preferences in higher education admissions. The Project 21 black leadership network joined a legal brief in one of those cases, asking the justices to reconsider a previous decision by the Court that allows discrimination in college and university admissions.
“This is great news. Our Constitution is colorblind, and the 14th Amendment ensures that no American can be treated differently solely because of their race. This is true for college admissions as well,” said Project 21 Co-Chairman Horace Cooper. “The Supreme Court failed to uphold this view in the Grutter case. It now has a chance to get it right. As Chief Justice John Roberts previously noted, ‘The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.'”
The Court accepted the cases of Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina. Although submitted separately, they will be combined to address racial preferences in college admissions at both private and public institutions. Project 21 joined an amici curiae (“friends of the court”) legal brief asking the justices to accept the UNC case, pointing out that the Court’s decision in the case of Grutter v. Bollinger has had “disastrous consequences” because it allowed schools to use the ruling “as an unqualified endorsement of racial preferences.”
“Affirmative action should not be on the wish list of a minority student. In 2022, students are equipped with a plethora of resources that prepare and qualify them for higher education,” said Project 21 member Diante Johnson. “Who wants to think they’re only here because they’re black or Latino? It’s embarrassing.”
The combined cases will likely be heard during the Court’s next term in the fall.
“It’s not a coincidence that the core tenet of affirmative action is also the core tenet of Critical Race Theory,” said Project 21 member Michael Austin. “It’s the unrealistic progressive narrative that different outcomes between groups of people are simply because minorities are victims. It’s functionally the same as the 100-year-old rhetoric that different outcomes are the result of minorities being genetically less capable. Both narratives speak to the bigotry of low expectations.”
The brief that Project 21 joined – written by the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) – called Grutter “an outlier in equal protection jurisprudence.” It argued that equality under the law offers no exception for education, that the diversity goals created in the Court’s 2003 decision rely on arbitrary racial classifications and that such classifications perpetuate harmful stereotypes.
“Everything I’ve worked hard for, the sacrifices I’ve made, the blood, sweat and tears I’ve shed are supposed to mean something,” said Project 21 member AK Kamara. “To have all of that taken away and cheapened by someone who pities me based on the color of my skin – or worse, by the idea that affirmative action paved my way – is easy for me to describe. Disgust. Anger. Rage. It is my hope that this Supreme Court will finally be able to do what needs to be done: rule that it is unconstitutional to use race as a criteria in college admissions.”
“The Supreme Court has a chance to affirm the belief of Justice Clarence Thomas that ‘[t]he Constitution abhors classifications based on race,'” added Austin. “It should affirm that bad policies with good intentions are still bad policies. It should affirm that racism doesn’t disappear or isn’t minimized when one lowers expectations based on the color of one’s skin.”
“The time for race-based exceptions is past, and it should never be allowed to return,” agreed Cooper.
To read the entire Project 21 brief – as written by PLF – click here. Project 21 and PLF were joined on the brief by the Center for Equal Opportunity, Reason Foundation, Chinese American Citizens Alliance-Greater New York, Coalition for TJ and Yi Fang Chen.
To schedule an interview with a member of Project 21 on this or other issues, contact Judy Kent at (703) 477-7476.
Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives for over 25 years, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research. Its members have been quoted, interviewed or published over 40,000 times since the program was created in 1992. Contributions to the National Center are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated, and may be earmarked exclusively for the use of Project 21.
Founded in 1982, the National Center for Public Policy Research is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from some 60,000 individuals, less than four percent from foundations and less than two percent from corporations. Sign up for email updates here.
Follow Project 21 on Twitter at @Project21News for general announcements. To be alerted to upcoming media appearances by Project 21 members, follow our media appearances Twitter account at @NCPPRMedia.