The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling this week that eliminated race-based considerations in college admissions drew criticism from President Joe Biden, who said in the Oval Office that “this is not a normal court.”
In response to the ruling in Students for Fair Admissions versus President and Fellows of Harvard University, a case where a group on behalf of Asian-American students sued the universities for their affirmative action policies, Biden organized a news conference. Racial preferences in college admissions that failed to pass the “strict scrutiny” requirements of the Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment were overturned by the court.
Assuming that “diversity,” not brilliance, is the goal of college admissions, Biden criticized the judgment, claiming it interfered with universities’ authority over how to best accomplish diversity among their student groups.
He put up an alternative admission criteria known as the “adversity” standard, which would look at an applicant’s socioeconomic situation and the challenges they had to face in order to be admitted to college. He asserted that all applicants who satisfied the academic requirements for admission should subsequently be evaluated based on the “adversity” they had faced. He made no mention of how “adversity” may serve as an illegitimate stand-in for racial preferences.
To continue battling for what he called America’s core values, Biden punched the podium.
A reporter questioned him about whether the present Supreme Court was a “rogue” court as he wrapped up his speech and started to depart the podium. “This isn’t a normal court,” Biden stated. When the same journalist inquired further about the possibility of setting term limits for Supreme Court judges, he remained silent.
Later, while traveling on Air Force One to NY, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre informed reporters that the Departments of Justice and Education will collaborate to provide universities with legal guidance on how to increase diversity in admissions. She announced that a summit on the subject will also be held at the White House. Reporters persisted in asking Jean-Pierre if the President would support modifications to the Supreme Court.