President Joe Biden blasted the US Supreme Court’s decision Thursday to end race-based university admission policies and suggested the nation’s powerful top court was no longer in step with American norms.
“The court has effectively ended affirmative action in college admissions and I strongly, strongly disagree with the court’s decision,” he said in remarks broadcast live.
The ruling “walked away from decades of precedent,” he said, adding that universities “should not abandon their commitment” to create diverse student bodies.
Asked by reporters if the majority conservative justices — who also voted last year to overturn a nationwide right to abortion — now presided over a rogue court, Biden took a lengthy pause, before finally saying: “This is not a normal court.”
The justices, breaking six to three along conservative-liberal lines, ruled that affirmative action — originally designed to help Blacks and other minorities overcome educational and economic disadvantages in university admissions — had been “well intentioned” but amounted to discrimination against other students.
Biden rejected this, saying colleges were tackling systemic race problems.
“The truth is, we all know, discrimination still exists in America,” Biden said. “Today’s decision has not changed that simple fact.”
“It’s a simple fact that if a student has had to overcome adversity on their path to education, colleges should recognize and value that,” he said. “I believe our colleges are stronger when they are racially diverse… We cannot let this decision be the last word.”
The White House urged colleges and universities to continue to take into account the varying backgrounds of applicants, including “personal experiences of hardship or discrimination” and “racial discrimination.”
The administration also said it would be working with higher education establishments to help them to maintain their emphasis on creating diverse student bodies within the legal confines of the Supreme Court ruling.