A Supreme Court Ban on Affirmative Action Would Halt Progress on Achieving a More Just Society

Inevitably, the U.S. Supreme Court will reexamine the issue of race-sensitive admissions in higher education. With a Supreme Court that now has a conservative majority, the constitutionality of affirmative action may be in doubt.

A new study by Joni Hersch, the Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Law and Economics at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, shows the devasting effects that would occur, should the Supreme Court ban the consideration of race in admissions decisions at the nation’s most elite universities and professional schools.

Using data on nearly 500,000 college graduates, Professor Hersch demonstrates that the likelihood of earning a professional or graduate degree — an outcome that is closely linked to employment in influential positions — drops off dramatically in the universities attended by the majority of college graduates, as compared with elite universities that use affirmative action. Further, she found that race is a relatively unimportant predictor of professional or graduate degree attainment among graduates of these highly selective universities and professional schools.

As a result, the elimination of affirmative action would not only reduce the number of Black students at these universities and professional schools, it would, in turn, reduce the number of Black professionals in law, medicine, and other fields.

Professor Hersch concludes that “should affirmative action fall, the enrollment of underrepresented minorities in elite institutions will decline, further exacerbating the underrepresentation of minorities in positions of influence. The already existing lack of diversity in leadership roles impairs our nation’s efforts to reckon with its history of racial injustice.”

Related Articles


  1. II lived in California during the 1980’s when the University of California wanted to abandon “Affirmative Action” guidelines for Black and Latino citizens. What shocked me is all of the “Professional Blacks in California” sided with stopping Affirmative Action becausse “THER” students were as well prepared as White students. The end results: Black admissions WAS around 9% and immediately declined to 4 or 5% and has remained in that area.
    A few Black parents believed that if their child was in one of the BEST White high schools in the State and had earned a “B” average that their child would be admitted BEFORE a Black student in an all Black High School with an all “A” achievement. It never happened. Int the White high school before that B Black student would be admitted, the College was turning down 10 to 20 White students with B+,A-, and even A Averages. That B Black student would NOT be admitted.
    College admissions looks at EACH individual high school to selects competitive students based on how well they did int THAT individual. high school. The same is the one or two Black stidents in an all Black school. These kids are evaluated on did they take the RIGHT courses? Do they have the BEST grades and other factors. Then they too are admitted because they are Qualified and ready to compete.

    • The reason black residents sided against Affirmative Action is because of the wording of Prop 209 they used wording like racial and gender preferences. When all Affirmative Action seeks to do is expand access/improve for historically excluded and discriminated against group. The opponents were very deceptive.

  2. In other words Johnny boy,

    These so-called Black parents who believed that by attending an lily White school their so-called Black children would receive a “better education” as compared to attending an “all Black high school”. I guess these ill-informed so-called Black souls probably believe the “white ice is colder” narrative. Sad.

  3. The Supreme Court needs to get rid of affirmative action because it is being abused. President Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ) gave a speech at Howard University around June 1964 in which he plainly stated that affirmative action was intended to right the wrongs of slavery and Jim Crow segregation against American Descendants of Slaves (ADOS). When White women, Hispanics, and other non Blacks were added Black people should have made it clear that affirmative action was intended to address the specific ills LBJ addressed. If your ancestors were not a slave, if you were not subject to Jim Crow segregation, then you do not qualify. As it is now, millions of people simply walked across the border and became automatically eligible to the point now where the overwhelming number of beneficiaries of affirmative action are not ADOS. In fact, ADOS have been crowed out by people who have usurped their benefits. Meanwhile, ADOS continue to get negative name association with affirmative action while others free ride. The program must end and just like Asians got a crime bill exclusive to them to the exclusion of all others, ADOS needs an affirmative action bill exclusive to them and exclusive of all others.

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Two Black Scholars Appointed to Faculty Positions

The new faculty are Esther Jones at Brown University and Dagmawi Woubshet at the University of Pennsylvania.

Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision is Established at Bowie State University

"The new program will help to increase the number of counselor educators within the counseling field and the number of competent Black counselor educators," says Dr. Otis Williams, chair of the Bowie State University department of counseling and psychological studies.

Elizabeth City State University Partners With the University of Tennessee Health Science Center to Increase Representation of Black Graduate...

"We are excited by this partnership with UT Health Science Center and the opportunities this brings to our students who wish to pursue advanced degrees," said Kuldeep Rawat, dean of the Elizabeth City State University School of Science, Health and Technology.

Kimberly White-Smith Honored for Outstanding Contributions to Teacher Education

“Through her leadership and scholarship, Dr. White-Smith inspires a new generation of teachers to serve students and approach their work with equity, compassion, and respect,” said Gail F. Baker, provost and senior vice president at the University of San Diego. 

Featured Jobs