In Updates from Jo, Newsletters, The People's Blog

On Thursday June 29, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that race-conscious admissions programs at Harvard and the University of North Carolina (UNC) are unconstitutional in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The ruling in the UNC case was 6-3 along ideological lines; The Harvard case was 6-2 with Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson recusing herself.

The majority opinion written by Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. states that the two programs “involve racial stereotyping” and “unavoidably employ race in a negative manner.”

Both universities previously won in federal trial courts and the lower court decision in the Harvard case was affirmed by a federal appeals court.

The Supreme Court’s ruling is expected to lower the number of Black and Latino students at undergraduate institutions, medical schools, law schools, and other professional degree programs. Notably, a footnote in the majority opinion states that this ban on considering race in admissions does not apply to military academies. The decision also has effects beyond colleges and universities as it could cause employers to rethink how they consider race in their hiring process. NPR also noted that this decision has repercussions at selective primary and secondary schools like Boston Latin.

I am proud to have joined the Senate President and Senator Jason Lewis in signing on to a statement from the Healey/Driscoll Administration. (The statement and full list of signers is here:

As a Commonwealth, Massachusetts has always valued access to higher education as a key tool to advance opportunity for all. Education can help close the aching racial wealth gap, dramatically improve health outcomes, and open up myriad doors to opportunity and equitable economic growth. This misguided Supreme Court decision threatens to turn back the clock on decades of progress. Thankfully, Massachusetts will not yield.

At this moment – perhaps more than ever before – I am heartened by the Senate’s generational investment in public higher education in the fiscal year 2024 budget and the work ahead to make community college free.

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