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Newsom, Bonta react to Supreme Court decision to end race-based admissions

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(The Center Square) – In a decision by the United States Supreme Court on a case brought by the Students for Fair Admissions against Harvard College on its admission practice of considering race in the application of students, the court ruled that race-based selections, better known as affirmative action, was unconstitutional.

Students for Fair Admissions is a nonprofit organization whose stated purpose is “to defend human and civil rights secured by law, including the right of individuals to equal protection under the law.” SFFA filed separate lawsuits against Harvard and UNC, arguing that their race-based admissions programs violate, respectively, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

By 6-3, the Supreme court agreed.

In response to the decision, California Attorney General Rob Bonta said in a released statement “Today’s Supreme Court decisions have far-reaching implications for diversity and equal opportunity in higher education. I am deeply disappointed about the potential impact on ongoing efforts to create inclusive learning environments.”

“Many universities have for too long wrongly concluded that the touchstone of an individual’s identity is not challenges bested, skills built, or lessons learned, but the color of their skin. This Nation’s constitutional history does not tolerate that choice,” the court said in its decision.

California Governor Gavin Newsom commented, “While the path to equal opportunity has now been narrowed for millions of students, no court case will ever shatter the California Dream. Our campus doors remain open for all who want to work hard — and our commitment to diversity, equity, and equal opportunity has never been stronger.”

But California too has rejected race-based methods for college selections. In 2020, Proposition 16 gave voters the opportunity to reverse a 24-year ban on affirmative action in California, but the population voted to reject the use of race, sex, color, ethnicity or nationality in selection processes for public education and employment, choosing instead to uphold the California Civil Rights Initiative.

That did not deter Newsom from calling the assenting magistrates “right-wing activists” in robes.

“The Supreme Court’s conservative majority has yet again upended longstanding precedent, changing the law just because they now have the votes to do so, without any care for the costs to society and students around the country,” he said. “Right-wing activists — including those donning robes — are trying to take us back to the era of book bans and segregated campuses.”

“California has long recognized the value of diversity in institutions of higher learning. While the ruling narrows the scope of permissible consideration of race in admissions, it does not diminish our resolve to pursue policies and practices that ensure equal access and opportunities for all students,” Bonta stated.

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