Within an hour of the release of the Supreme Court decision in the “affirmative action” cases yesterday, President Biden stepped forth with his pitty-pat steps to mumble his disparagement of it. The White House has posted the transcript of his halting remarks here. Biden spoke about the effects of the “affirmative action” regime with the confidence of a guidance counselor, but not the candor. On that point, he regurgitated the public relations talking points of the perpetrators. On his way out the door, he commented: “This is not a normal court.” Is this a normal president?
Biden criticizes the decision: “[T]he truth is — we all know it: Discrimination still exists in America. Discrimination still exists in America. Discrimination still exists in America.” Yes, discrimination on the basis of race is illegal. That’s why the Supreme Court found the “affirmative action” regime unconstitutional.
Biden helpfully advises: “If a student has — has overcome — had to overcome adversity on their [sic] path to education, a college should recognize and value that.” The colleges had not thought of that.
Peter Wood is president of the National Association of Scholars with a professional expertise in anthropology. He literally wrote the book on Diversity (and the sequel, Diversity Rules). He has formulated preliminary comments on the Supreme Court decision in the Spectator column “Why the Supreme Court’s Harvard decision matters.” He notes that he needs a little more time to digest the 237-pages of opinions:
For one thing, I have not had time to fully read and digest the 237 pages of the decisions, the concurring opinions and the dissents. I know that didn’t stop President Biden from giving a ten-minute critique of the decision an hour or so after it was issued. He is plainly a faster reader than I, and someone who can cut to the heart of the matter.
Now that is funny.
Wood mentions in passing that he wrote (with Dion Pierre) the NAS report Neo-Segregation at Yale. He doesn’t mention that Justice Thomas actually cites the report at page 46 of his epic concurring opinion. Justice Thomas actually cites it in support of this proposition: “[A] recent study considering 173 schools found that 43% of colleges offered segregated housing to students of different races, 46% offered segregated orientation programs, and 72% sponsored segregated graduation ceremonies…In addition to contradicting the universities’ claims regarding the need for interracial interaction, see Brief for National Association of Scholars as Amicus Curiae 4–12, these trends increasingly encourage our Nation’s youth to view racial differences as important and segregation as routine.”
Wood also makes five serious points on the decision in his Spectator column:
First, the decision explicitly rests on the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, not on the Civil Rights Act, any other legislation or any executive orders. That means it is constitutional law — and cannot be undone by Congress or overruled by a president who “strongly disagrees” with it.
Second, the higher education establishment long anticipated that the SFFA v. Harvard case might go this way — and it has been working tirelessly to undermine the spirit of it by putting in place workarounds that will allow it to continue to practice racial preferences in admissions. Some of these workarounds will be challenged and will be found illegal. That will take time — and will not stop colleges and universities from finding still other ways to thwart the court. My organization and its allies will vigilantly watch for these subterfuges and will do our best to defeat them.
Third, the diversity doctrine has been elevated to near sacred status among many college and university administrators as well as within the leadership class in much of American society. The allegiance of the true believers will not be broken by intelligent argument, hard evidence, or popular opinion, any more than it will by a Supreme Court decision. This is a deep matter of America’s culture war: indeed there is none deeper. Either we are a profoundly racist society that needs to be reordered top to bottom by those who possess the superior insight of “woke” radicalism, or we are a fair-minded republic founded on the principles of liberty and equality — and determined to treat one another according to our merits. The diversity doctrine was a wrong turn that took us nearly fifty years in the wrong direction, but we are proving once again that we can fix our mistakes.
Fourth, we can expect the next stage of the culture wars to be an all-out attack on the Supreme Court by those who find its current jurisprudence unbearable. That attack, of course, started before this decision but the decision itself is bound to become a focal point.
Fifth and last, the decision signals the need for new thinking about who we are as a nation. Racial division is a plaything of the left and also a toy for a much smaller faction on the right. Most Americans of all races want nothing to do with that division. But the culture is stuck on the “diversity” gear and we find it difficult to talk about our rich history, our heroic accomplishments and our place in the world as a beacon of liberty without slipping back into the facile conceit of diversity. We should thank the court for kicking the banana peel to the gutter. The Court has given us a gift in removing a moral hazard, but the Court can’t tell us what to do next. That is up to free people to make their own decisions.
Whole thing here. I don’t think you’ll read anything better on the decision today.