Conservative Leaders Reveal Next Steps In Affirmative Action Fight
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 3: Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., is seen outside a meeting of the House Republican Conference in the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, January 3, 2023.
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images.

Conservative politicians and commentators on Thursday laid out the next steps in the battle over affirmative action policies after the Supreme Court struck down race-based admissions at Harvard and the University of North Carolina. 

Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) said the fight needed to move beyond education and into the military, corporations, and the federal government.

“Affirmative action was a failed experiment rooted in racial discrimination from day one, but the hard work doesn’t stop here. This morning’s ruling is just the beginning of eliminating race as a determining factor for success in our military, federal government, and boardrooms across the country, and the Anti-Woke Caucus will be at the front of that fight to restore colorblind meritocracy,” Banks said in a statement. 

The 6-3 ruling from the court exempted military institutions, saying that there could be distinct issues at play in military academies. 

“No military academy is a party to these cases, however, and none of the courts below addressed the propriety of race-based admissions systems in that context. This opinion also does not address the issue, in light of the potentially distinct interests that military academies may present,” Roberts wrote.  

Other conservative commentators pointed out that fewer than a dozen states have laws banning affirmative action. 

“It’s important to note that the SCOTUS decision is very narrow,” conservative commentator Ryan Girdusky wrote on Twitter. “Only 9 states ban affirmative action. If you’re a state legislator, you should be putting forward a bill to ban it in your state.”

States with various affirmative action bans include Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, and Oklahoma. Some of the states ban affirmative action policies at the state level, while others have already banned it at educational institutions. 

Most recently, Idaho Republican Governor Brad Little signed a law in 2020 prohibiting race-based acceptance policies for public education, state government positions, and state contracting positions. 


Blaze commentator Auron MacIntyre said that conservative lawmakers need to be ready to sue universities that work to get around the decision. 

“Universities, anticipating this ruling, have already begun shifting from measures like SAT scores to subjective admissions criteria like essays where the bias can be hidden,” he said. “The key will be the follow through, do conservatives have the conviction to doggedly enforce this ruling[?]” 

Along similar lines, Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) warned that some universities would find a way to work around the Supreme Court’s ruling, asking House Republicans if they would be ready to cut off funding for universities still pursuing race-based ends. 

“When the schools still take steps to accomplish the race-based objective, will we still fund higher ed at high levels and subsidize loans to those schools? Asking for a friend…,” Roy said.

Harvard has already indicated that it will find ways around the Supreme Court’s ban on affirmative action as a factor in college admissions.

“The Court also ruled that colleges and universities may consider in admissions decisions ‘an applicant’s discussion of how race affected his or her life, be it through discrimination, inspiration, or otherwise.’ We will certainly comply with the Court’s decision,” Harvard said in a statement.

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