Biden ‘strongly’ disagrees with Supreme Court ruling against affirmative action

President Joe Biden said Thursday that he is directing the Department of Education to analyze practices that build a more inclusive and diverse student body after the Supreme Court restricted the use of race in college admissions.

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The president said the court “walked away from decades of precedent” with its ruling against affirmative action policies at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina.

“The court has effectively ended affirmative action in college admissions, and I strongly, strongly disagree with the court’s decision,” he said.

“I believe our colleges are stronger when they’re racially diverse. Our nation is stronger because we … are tapping into the full range of talent in this nation. ... We cannot let this decision be the last word.”

Biden suggested that instead of race, colleges include a review of “the adversity a student has overcome” to their admissions policies after determining that candidates have the required qualifications to be considered for admission.

“The truth is, we all know it, discrimination still exists in America,” the president said.

“Today’s decision does not change that. It’s a simple fact. If a student … had to overcome adversity on their path to education, a college should recognize and value that. Our nation’s colleges and universities should be engines of expanding opportunity through upward mobility, but today, too often that’s not the case.”

His comments came after the Supreme Court issued a 6-3 ruling striking down affirmative action policies at Harvard and UNC. The founder of Students for Fair Admissions, the group that filed suit against the universities, praised the decision at a news conference on Thursday.

“The opinion issued today by the United States Supreme Court marks the beginning of the restoration of the colorblind legal covenant that binds together our multi-racial, multi-ethnic nation,” Edward Blum said. “The polarizing, stigmatizing and unfair jurisprudence that allowed colleges and universities to use a student’s race and ethnicity as a factor to either admit them or reject them has been overruled.”

Democrats roundly criticized the Supreme Court’s ruling. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called it “a giant roadblock in our country’s march toward racial justice.”

Former President Barack Obama acknowledged that the policy “was never a complete answer in the drive towards a more just society,” but noted that it gave people who had been “systematically excluded from most of America’s key institutions … the chance to show we more than deserved a seat at the table.”

Republicans largely praised the ruling, with former President Donald Trump — who is currently the top contender for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination — saying that the decision will “keep us competitive with the rest of the world.”

“Our greatest minds must be cherished and that’s what this wonderful day has brought,” he said in a post on social media. “We’re going back to all merit-based—and that’s the way it should be!”

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who served as ambassador to the United Nations under Trump and is also vying for the GOP presidential nomination, said the court’s decision “will help every student—no matter their background—have a better opportunity to achieve the American dream.”

Officials at Harvard and UNC said they will review the Supreme Court’s opinion and comply with its decision.

The court found that the schools’ policies “lack sufficiently focused and measurable objectives warranting the use of race, unavoidably employ race in a negative manner, involve racial stereotyping, and lack meaningful end points.”

The court added that “nothing in this opinion should be construed as prohibiting universities from considering an applicant’s discussion of how race affected his or her life, be it through discrimination, inspiration, or otherwise.”

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