When Roe v. Wade was overturned in 2022, White holding companies and White advertising agencies immediately issued responses, offering special healthcare benefits, posting angry divertorials, and more—mostly to show support for White women in Adland.
When the Supreme Court ruled against race-conscious admissions programs at elite schools—effectively dealing a serious blow to affirmative action—how did Adland react? Crickets. The exclusive majority of mythical Madison Avenue continued performative Pride promotions, enjoyed post-Cannes highs, and settled in for an extended holiday weekend.
For those who missed it, here’s a report from The New York Times…
Supreme Court Strikes Down Race-Based Admissions at Harvard and U.N.C.
In disavowing race as a factor in achieving educational diversity, the court all but ensured that the student population at the campuses of elite institutions will become whiter and more Asian and less Black and Latino.
By Adam Liptak
The decision is likely to reshape college admissions at elite schools. Here’s what to know.
Race-conscious admissions programs at Harvard and the University of North Carolina are unconstitutional, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday, the latest decision by its conservative majority on a contentious issue of American life.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for the 6-3 majority, said the two programs “unavoidably employ race in a negative manner” and “involve racial stereotyping,” in a manner that violates the Constitution.
However, he added, universities can consider how race has affected an applicant’s life. Students, he wrote, “must be treated based on his or her experiences as an individual — not on the basis of race.”
Justice Sonia Sotomayor summarized her dissent from the bench — a rare move that signals profound disagreement. The court, she said, was “further entrenching racial inequality in education, the very foundation of our democratic government and pluralistic society.”
The decision could have far-reaching effects, and not just at the colleges and universities across the country that are expected to revisit their admissions practices. The decision could prompt employers to rethink how they consider race in hiring and it could potentially narrow the pipeline of highly credentialed minority candidates entering the work force.
Here’s what to know:
• The opinions in the case — including concurring opinions from Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh and another dissenting opinion from Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson — total 237 pages. (Justice Jackson recused herself from the Harvard case because she had been on the university’s board of overseers.)
• The two cases were brought by Students for Fair Admissions, a group founded by Edward Blum, a legal activist who has organized many lawsuits challenging race-conscious admissions policies and voting rights laws, several of which have reached the Supreme Court.
• In the North Carolina case, the plaintiffs said that the university discriminated against white and Asian applicants by giving preference to Black, Hispanic and Native American ones. The case against Harvard has an additional element, accusing the university of discriminating against Asian American students by using a subjective standard to gauge traits like likability, courage and kindness, and by effectively creating a ceiling for them in admissions. The universities both won in federal trial courts, and the decision in Harvard’s favor was affirmed by a federal appeals court.
• The 6-3 decision on Thursday reflects the country’s division over affirmative action, which breaks along racial and political lines.
• In 2016, the Supreme Court upheld an admissions program at the University of Texas at Austin, holding that officials there could continue to consider race as a factor in ensuring a diverse student body.