Pa. Democrats React to Affirmative Action Ruling

Ashley Goodwin / U.S. Army National Guard

HARRISBURG, Pa. (ErieNewsNow) – Today, members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus expressed disappointment with the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the cases of Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina and Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard College.

The SCOTUS ruling found Harvard and UNC’s admissions process unconstitutional, dismantling affirmative action and ending the consideration of race in the application process. Affirmative action in higher education was established in the 1960s to allow admissions departments to consider race as a factor during admissions.  

Lawmakers today said its purpose was to enfranchise historically and systemically disadvantaged populations and that it has become a useful tool to remedy racial and socioeconomic disparities that have hindered access to quality education, economic opportunities and social mobility. 

“We will fight, we will not give up. Damn the United States Supreme Court and its decision. We will not give up,” said state Sen. Vincent Hughes (D-Montgomery/Philadelphia). 

“What I can tell you is all of our children deserve an opportunity. What I can tell you is that all of our children in Pennsylvania will be defended. What I can tell you is every one of our constituents who go to our universities in this Commonwealth will have fair opportunities because all of us standing up here have benefited from those fair opportunities,” said House Speaker Joanna McClinton (D-Delaware/Philadelphia). 


McClinton says today’s ruling is the latest in a pattern of throwing out something that’s been in place for decades. 

“We were standing all here this time last year and it seems to be a recurring theme with this court to keep taking away our rights,” said McClinton. “It wasn’t bad enough last year that they took away the rights of women all throughout these United States of America. Today, we’re here again because they’re taking away the opportunities that we have simply to be considered,” she added. 

Lawmakers say affirmative action was an imperfect and partial solution that helped black and brown students receive admission to institutions they were more than qualified for, but otherwise would not have had access to, due to racial discrimination. 

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