WASHINGTON − President Joe Biden on Thursday slammed the decision from the Supreme Court to strike down affirmative action programs for college admissions at Harvard College and the University of North Carolina.
Speaking at the White House on Thursday, the president said he “strongly disagreed” with the decision and later unveiled new actions for colleges to consider when overlooking student admissions.
“I know today’s court decision is a severe disappointment to so many people including me, but we cannot let the decision be a permanent setback for the country,” he said. “We need to keep an open door of opportunities. “
“We cannot let this decision be the last word,” Biden added. “The court can render a decision but it cannot change what America stands for.”
The court ruled in a 6-3 and 6-2 vote Thursday that the programs violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution and are unlawful. The Harvard vote was 6-2, which liberal Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson recused herself.
“Both programs lack sufficiently focused and measurable objectives warranting the use of race, unavoidably employ race in a negative manner, involve racial stereotyping, and lack meaningful end points,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote. “We have never permitted admissions programs to work in that way, and we will not do so today.”
“Discrimination still exists in America. Today’s decision has not changed that,” Biden said. “Today for too many schools the only people who benefit from the system are the wealthy and the well connected. The odds have been stacked against working people for much too long. We need a higher education system that works for everyone.”
Biden proposed colleges take into the account the amount of adversity a student has faced in their life.
“They should not abandon their commitment to ensure student bodies of diverse backgrounds and experience,” Biden said. “What I propose is consideration of a new standard for colleges to take into account the adversity a student has overcome when selecting among qualified applications.”
As he finished his remarks, Biden was asked if the Supreme Court is a rogue court.
“It’s not a normal court,” he answered after a brief pause.
Speaking later on MSNBC’s “Deadline: White House”, Biden stook firm on his opposition to the ruling, saying the current Supreme Court has “done more to unravel basic rights and basic decisions than any court in recent history.”
“I think that some on the court are beginning to realize that their legitimacy is being questioned in ways that it hasn’t been questioned in the past,” Biden said.
Democrats have renewed their calls to expand the Court after Thursday’s ruling but Biden did not go as far in his comments to Nicolle Wallace, saying a move like that would become too politicized.
“I think if we start the process of trying to expand the court, we’re going to politicize it maybe forever in a way that is not healthy,” Biden said.