Aziz Huq Writes About the Politics of the Supreme Court’s Affirmative Action Decision

Ending Affirmative Action May Be Just the Beginning

It is easy to think of the Supreme Court’s decision invalidating Harvard and UNC-Chapel Hill’s affirmative action programs as the end of a long road.

A court with a Republican-appointed majority has been chipping away at the legality of using race to allocate state benefits since the Reagan administration. And a young lawyer in Reagan’s White House by the name of John Roberts candidly condemned state affirmative action measures in blunt terms as “highly objectionable.” Now, after Roberts’ opinion Thursday, “objectionable” has become “unconstitutional” thanks simply to the changing composition of the court.

Even if this week’s decision is the final flourish of a conservative legal project that has been in the works since the 1980s, it may also signal the opening of a new chapter in the history of American struggles over race. A conservative majority of the Supreme Court could well build on this ruling to undermine further efforts by the government and firms to identify and address harms that fall distinctively on racial and ethnic minorities.

Read more at POLITICO Magazine

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