Donald Trump and other top Republican leaders on Thursday praised the Supreme Court’s rejection of race-sensitive admissions programs at two universities, with the former president calling the ruling “a great day for America.”
The Supreme Court ruling, which has been heavily criticized by Democrats including President Joe Biden, effectively outlaws affirmative action policies that have long been used to increase the number of black, Hispanic and other underrepresented minority students on American campuses.
Trump, who is part of a busy race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, said the ruling would return the country to “all merit-based” admissions.
“This is a great day for America. People with extraordinary abilities and everything else necessary for success, including future greatness for our country, are finally being rewarded,” the former president said in a statement.
Other Republican presidential candidates, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Trump’s biggest election rival, said the ruling would end what he described as “discrimination” based on race in college applications.
“College admissions should be based on merit and applicants should not be judged based on their race or ethnicity,” DeSantis wrote on Twitter.
Trump’s former vice president Mike Pence, also seeking the 2024 Republican nomination, said on Twitter that he was “honored to have played a role in nominating the three judges who helped secure today’s decision.”
In the US Congress, top Republican lawmakers, including House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, said the decision would ensure fair competition in admissions.
“Today’s rulings make clear that colleges must not continue to discriminate against bright and ambitious students based on the color of their skin,” McConnell said in a statement.
Many higher education institutions have long advocated affirmative action on campuses, not only to redress racial inequality and segregation in American life, but also to ensure a talent pool that can bring diverse perspectives to the workplace. Democrats generally support this argument.
In a May Reuters/Ipsos poll, 49% of respondents agreed that “because of racial discrimination, programs such as affirmative action are needed to create equality,” while 32% disagreed and 19% were unsure.
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