6/29/2023 in News & Media, Press Releases

Supreme Court Ruling Against Affirmative Action in College Admissions at Harvard and University of North Carolina Undermines Efforts to Create Diverse Student Bodies to Benefit the Nation

Date: June 29, 2023 
Contact: Izzy Woodruff | iwoodruff@nationalfairhousing.org

Supreme Court Ruling Against Affirmative Action in College Admissions at Harvard and University of North Carolina Undermines Efforts to Create Diverse Student Bodies to Benefit the Nation

Washington, D.C. — Today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Harvard and UNC’s affirmative action plans violate the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. While the Court seemingly left existing precedent untouched, its decision calls into question the use of affirmative action in future college admissions. Nikitra Bailey, Executive Vice President of the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), issued the following statement condemning the Court for not outright upholding educational equity.

“Despite the course of nearly 50 years of precedent where race could be a factor in college admissions, the U.S. Supreme Court interjected new hurdles for students of color who have overcome structural barriers in pursuit of higher education. Today’s rulings place additional burdens on Black, Latino, API, Native American, and other students of color to prove how systemic discrimination affects them and how their histories can benefit an institution of higher learning. The Court’s decision is likely to result in denying all students the ability to benefit from diverse student bodies that enhance educational experiences. 

“Our K-12 school systems, like our neighborhoods, remain extremely segregated despite the rich and broad diversity in the United States. All students should have access to high-opportunity schools, but where you live impacts your child’s ability to attend a well-resourced school with expanded learning opportunities. Throughout the nation, school systems spend $23 billion more in predominately White school districts than they do in school districts that are predominately Black, Latino, API, and Native American, and the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the racial education gap. Affirmative action made higher education a viable pathway for students from intentionally disadvantaged communities expanding their future opportunities regardless of what zip code they grew up in. That pathway now has more hurdles to be jumped. 

“In addition to attempting to level the playing field of past discriminatory educational policies, affirmative action also sought to increase diversity on campuses to benefit all students. In fact, 79 percent of Americans believe that diversity contributes to a better education for all students, which in turn benefits our nation.

“Today’s ruling is disappointing as it turns the 14th Amendment on its head, but we must continue fighting to advance racial justice. We know that so called ‘race-neutral’ options are not the solution to centuries of race-conscious discrimination, and the 14th Amendment permits race-conscious remedies. Today, in fact, the Court stated nothing precludes the consideration of race in admissions as long as it is narrowly tailored to survive judicial scrutiny. We will continue partnering with other civil rights organizations to uplift communities of color and ensure that opportunities in education are open to all.”


The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) is the country’s only national civil rights organization dedicated solely to eliminating all forms of housing and lending discrimination and ensuring equal opportunities for all people. As the trade association for over 170 fair housing and justice-centered organizations and individuals throughout the U.S. and its territories, NFHA works to dismantle longstanding barriers to equity and build diverse, inclusive, well-resourced communities.