A 'great day for America': Trump, Republicans hail affirmative action ruling

30 June 2023 - 09:15 By Doina Chiacu and Rami Ayyub
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Trump, who is part of a crowded race for the Republican nomination in the 2024 presidential election, said the ruling will bring the country “back to all merit-based” admissions.
Trump, who is part of a crowded race for the Republican nomination in the 2024 presidential election, said the ruling will bring the country “back to all merit-based” admissions.
Image: REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo

Donald Trump and other top US Republican leaders hailed the Supreme Court's rejection on Thursday of race-conscious student admissions programs at two universities, with the former president saying the ruling marked “a great day for America.”

The court decision, strongly criticised by Democrats including President Joe Biden, effectively prohibits affirmative action policies long used to raise the number of Black, Hispanic and other underrepresented minority students on US campuses.

Trump, who is part of a crowded race for the Republican nomination in the 2024 presidential election, said the ruling will bring the country “back to all merit-based” admissions.

“This is a great day for America. People with extraordinary ability and everything else necessary for success, including future greatness for our country, are finally being rewarded,” the former president said in a statement.

Other Republican presidential contenders, including Trump's top election rival Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, said the ruling would end what he described as race-based “discrimination” in university applications.

“College admissions should be based on merit and applicants should not be judged on their race or ethnicity,” DeSantis wrote on Twitter.

Trump's former vice-president Mike Pence, who is also seeking the 2024 Republican nomination, said on Twitter he was “honoured to have played a role in appointing three of the justices who ensured today's welcomed decision.”

In the US Congress, top Republican lawmakers including House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said the decision would ensure fair competition in admissions.

“Today's rulings make clear that colleges may not continue discriminating against bright and ambitious students based on the colour of their skin,” McConnell said in a statement.

Many institutions of higher education long have backed affirmative action on campuses not simply to remedy racial inequity and exclusion in American life, but to ensure a talent pool that can bring a range of perspectives to the workplace. Democrats broadly support this argument.

In a May Reuters/Ipsos poll, 49% of respondents agreed that “due to racial discrimination, programs such as affirmative action are necessary to help create equality,” while 32% disagreed and 19% were unsure.

Reuters

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