As the Supreme Court handed down its decision that the race-conscious admission policies of Harvard College and the University of North Carolina violated the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment, effectively dismantling affirmative action in higher education, right-wing media poured praise on the conservative justices for ending what they claim is a “discriminatory” and “racist” practice.
On June 29, the Supreme Court’s decisions in both SFFA v. President and Fellows of Harvard College and SFFA v. University of North Carolina essentially decided that race can no longer be a factor in college admissions, striking down affirmative action. Both cases involved Students for Fair Admissions, a nonprofit with financial ties to anti-civil rights strategists, suing Harvard University and the University of North Carolina over their admissions processes that the group claimed violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the 14th Amendment, respectively. The elimination of affirmative action has been a right-wing policy goal for years and has been bankrolled through SFFA in order to see its elimination come to fruition.
Right-wing media continuously amplified their hatred of affirmative action leading up to its elimination, platforming guests who view the policy as “un-American.” Some right-wing figures that are celebrating the end of affirmative action have now begun calling for the end of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and “disparate impact” regulations, revealing their ultimate goal to destroy civil rights protections in the United States.
The Supreme Court’s decision to dismantle affirmative action coincides with a network of “parental choice” activists and right-wing media figures demanding radical changes to the U.S. education system. Anti-critical race theory proponents like Christopher Rufo and Russ Vought have worked hand-in-hand with right-wing media to mount aggressive smear campaigns against critical race theory and diversity policies. These groups have deliberately tried to gut the 14th Amendment, which would create massive obstacles to communities of color in education.
As part of their attacks on education, Fox News hosts have already started calling for the destruction of the public school system, arguing that the U.S. should “defund government education” and replace it with private school vouchers. The network has also spread misinformation about critical race theory, even claiming that proponents want to “brainwash your child so that they feel guilty about being born white.” Right-wing media attacks on the education system serve to minimize the impact that the Supreme Court’s decision to end affirmative action will have on diversity and equity in higher education.
Right-wing media agreed with Supreme Court that affirmative action is “unconstitutional,” labeling it a “racist” and “discriminatory” practice:
- Turning Point USA’s Charlie Kirk praised the decision, tweeting, “Finally the Court has corrected another awful 70s mistake, and ruled that racially discriminatory college admissions are unconstitutional.”
- Fox News contributor Katie Pavlich called affirmative action “unconstitutional and anti-American, for college admissions and everywhere else. This is an earthquake that should upend the left’s racist standards, not just in education but in employment at every level.”
- On America’s Newsroom, former Trump official Roger Severino claimed that “45% of the students of African American descent admitted to Harvard would not have made it according to Harvard's own statistics had they not done the racial balancing in the name of diversity. Now, Harvard only has 8% of conservatives that are admitted students, 82% of Harvard students come from wealthy backgrounds. It’s not really about diversity. It was about racial balancing.”
- The Daily Caller published an article, titled “Supreme Court Rules Against Racial Prejudice In College Admissions,” framing affirmative action as being discriminatory.
- Newsmax’s Justine Brooke Murray tweeted that people “already knew” affirmative action was discriminatory prior to the Supreme Court decision, arguing that prospective students “should not be judged by the color of their skin but by content of their character!”
- Racist livestreamer Steven Crowder claimed that because of the Supreme Court decision, “Asian students can no longer be discriminated against.”
Some right-wing figures praised former President Donald Trump for his Supreme Court picks who helped bring affirmative action to an end:
- Former Trump adviser and white nationalist Stephen Miller called the decision a “colossal win for USA. Colossal achievement for 45 in shaping the Court to realize this victory.”
- Failed congressional candidate and “proud Islamophobe” Laura Loomer celebrated the decision as a “great day” that “was only made possible today thanks to President Donald J Trump’s nomination of 3 SCOTUS justices.”
- Newsmax contributor Karoline Leavitt claimed that “President Donald Trump made today's historic decision to end the racist college admissions process possible because he delivered on his promise to appoint constitutionalist justices.”
Despite polling on affirmative action showing high rates of approval with marginalized groups, right-wing media argued that the Supreme Court’s decision was “popular” with all Americans:
- Former Fox News host Megyn Kelly tweeted, “Race-based admissions will still continue bc these institutions will find sneaky ways of doing it, but they will no longer have the absurd cover of law. THESE POLICIES HAVE BEEN HURTING MINORITY GROUPS FOR DECADES. And ppl of all races oppose them. This is a great day for America.”
- Fox News Radio host Guy Benson tweeted, “We are told SCOTUS is ‘losing legitimacy’ by issuing rulings that are ‘out of touch’ or unpopular. That misunderstands the justices’ function, of course, but many of the same people who’ve engaged in such concern trolling will be screaming over today’s decision.” Benson also posted an image of polling data, seemingly ignoring that the results showed that among American adults familiar with affirmative action, nearly every racial category mostly saw it as a “good thing.”
Fringe and right-wing accounts also celebrated the decision as a victory for white people and discussed what’s “next up”:
- Following the decision, Rufo tweeted: “The Supreme Court has struck down affirmative action in college admissions. It's time to go further: abolish DEI bureaucracies, prohibit race-based hiring, eliminate the ‘disparate impact’ doctrine, and restore the principle of colorblind equality in all of our institutions.”
- Gab founder and virulent antisemite Andrew Torba posted, “Affirmative action is dead. Roe is dead. Next up: the Civil Rights Act so we can restore the freedom of association in this country.”
- White nationalist vlogger Steve Franssen tweeted “LETS GO WHITE RACE” in response to the decision.
- On Gab, failed Senate candidate and Proud Boys supporter Lauren Witzke posted on Gab, “How many hopes and dreams have been destroyed for White people due to this vile policy? Affirmative Action is truly one of the biggest stains on America. Overqualified people were rejected from jobs and schools due to the color of their skin. It’s been unconstitutional from the start. It’s time to put an END to the cruel and evil practice of Affirmative Action.”
- Far-right account Write Winger posted on Gab, “With race-based admissions being struck down at colleges, now is the time for White people to claim their space in this oh so diverse and inclusive environment, and I’ll tell you how you personally can help. If your school or employer has or does anything based on race, I want you to politely ask, in writing preferably via email, how you can go about creating the same for White people.”
- Author Padraig Martin posted on Gab, “While Affirmative Action harmed hundreds of thousands of qualified White applicants over the past five decades, nobody gave a damn. How many aspiring White applicants from low income homes were denied economic advancement because they were White? I appreciate this decision, but just remember - if you are White, the United States government still hates you for being White and actively seeks your displacement and replacement with its myriad of anti-White policies.”