ANALYSIS – BOOM! – The landmark Supreme Court decision against racial and sex discrimination by schools and universities (under the guise of ‘affirmative action’) will also impact corporate ‘diversity’ programs based on the same flawed, discriminatory ideas.
In what has become a major legal development in a growing wave of anti-wokeness, corporations will soon have to reconsider all their – likely illegal – Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) efforts.
While pushed by the increasingly leftist establishment, most of these woke programs have been illegal under U.S. state and federal laws, which explicitly prohibit discrimination by race and gender. But until now the courts let them get away with it.
Now the Supreme Court has made it official. Affirmative action (aka – discriminatory ‘diversity’ efforts) are out.
The court held by that Harvard and University of North Carolina’s (UNC’s) admissions programs violate the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Students for Fair Admissions, a conservative group, sued Harvard and UNC over their ‘race-conscious’ admissions programs, arguing they intentionally discriminated against Asian American applicants.
In the decision, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote: “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.”
He added: “We have never permitted admissions programs to work in that way, and we will not do so today.”
Previously, the Supreme Court in the 2003 case of Grutter v. Bollinger, ruled that “the use of an applicant’s race as one factor in an admissions policy of a public educational institution does not violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment if the policy is narrowly tailored to the compelling interest of promoting a diverse student body.”
This was intended to be a very narrow exception, but soon became far more. And this helped woke corporate America justify its own discriminatory DEI programs.
A 2022 Harvard Business Review 2022 survey, reported by The Epoch Times, showed that more than 60 percent of U.S. companies had a DEI program, which separates employees according to race and gender.
After the 2020 Black Lives Matter (BLM) riots, major corporations announced explicit race-based hiring and promotion policies.
But now that the 2003 decision has been superseded, they will all need to revisit the legality of their DEI programs. As Kevin Stocklin explains in The Epoch Times:
In an amicus brief regarding the Harvard and UNC case, the Hamilton Lincoln Law Institute and attorney Ilya Shapiro argued that “what this Court authorized in Grutter as a temporary, grudging exception to America’s ideals and generally applicable law of Equal Protection … has metastasized into a threat blooming across the legal landscape, the economy, and society as a whole.”
The exceptions granted by the Grutter case were narrowly tailored to government-funded universities’ admissions policies, and were intended to be a temporary remedy that would include “sunset” provisions. But corporations have applied them as a precedent to race-based policies on staffing and training, and expanded them to include new racial goals.
“To the extent that corporate America has thought that Grutter provided some kind of fig leaf to the illegal discrimination they’ve been engaging in for the last two decades, this would be a really good time for them to rethink that,” Morenoff said. “It never made sense for corporate America to argue that there was a diversity rationale exception to our civil rights laws,” he said.
However, if the Supreme Court decision reverses Grutter or the Johnson executive order, even that questionable pretense would be gone. Rather than standing on thin ice, Morenoff said, “they’re standing on no ice at all.”
This is the next battleground – using this Supreme Court precedent to eliminate discrimination by sex and race from corporate America.
Opinions expressed by contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of Great America News Desk.