President Biden’s Comments on Supreme Court’s Decision on Affirmative Action

Roosevelt Room

12:48 PM EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Hello friends. Sorry to make you wait for few minutes.

Forty-five years – For forty-five years, the United States Supreme Court has recognized a college’s freedom to decide how to build a diverse student body and their responsibility to open doors of opportunity to every American To be completed

In case after case, most recently, even a few years ago in 2016, the Court has affirmed this view: that race should be considered not as a single determining factor for college admission, but among several factors in deciding whether Who can use as one of the criteria for admission from a qualified – already qualified pool of applicants.

Today, the Court once again departed from decades of precedent and – as the dissent has made clear.

The dissent states that today’s decision, quote, “sets back decades of precedent and significant progress.” end of quote.

I agree with that statement of those who disagree – on behalf of those who disagree.

The Court has effectively ended affirmative action in college admissions. And I completely disagree with the court’s decision.

Because affirmative action is so misunderstood, I want to be clear – make sure everyone is clear about what has and hasn’t been the law to date.

Many people erroneously believe that affirmative action allows ineligible students – ineligible students – to enter before eligible students. It’s not – college admissions doesn’t work that way.

Rather, colleges set standards for admission, and each student—every student—has to meet those standards.

Then, and only then, after the school has met the required qualifications, do colleges look at factors other than your grades, such as race.

The way it works in practice is as follows: Colleges first establish a qualified pool of candidates based on meeting certain grades, test scores, and other criteria.

Then, and only then – then, and only then, and it is from this group of applicants – all of whom have already met the school’s standards – that the class is chosen after weighing a wide range of factors It goes, caste is also among them.

You know, I’ve always believed that one of America’s greatest strengths – and you’re tired of hearing me say this – is our diversity, but I believe in it.

If you have any doubt about it, just look at the United States military, the best fighting force in the history of the world. It has been a model of diversity. And it has not only made us – our nation better, stronger, but also safer.

And I believe the same is true for our schools. I’ve always believed that the promise of America is big enough for everyone to succeed, and for every generation of Americans, we benefit by opening the doors of opportunity a little wider to include those who have been left behind. Has happened.

I believe that our colleges are stronger when they have racial diversity. Our nation is strong because we use what we make – because we are harnessing the full range of talent in this nation.

I also believe that talent, creativity and hard work are everywhere in this country, but opportunities are not equal. It is not everywhere in the whole country.

We cannot allow this decision to become the final decision. I want to stress this: We cannot allow this decision to be the final decision.

Although the Court can rule, it cannot change America’s mind.

America is an idea – a unique idea in the world. The idea of ​​hope and opportunity, of possibilities, of giving everyone a fair chance, of leaving no one behind. We’ve never quite lived up to it, but we’ve never shied away from it either. Now we will not go away from this.

We must never let the country drift away from the dream it was founded on: that opportunity is for all, not just a few.

We need a new way forward – a way consistent with laws that protect diversity and expand opportunity.

So, today I want to offer some guidance to our nation’s colleges as they review their admissions systems following today’s decision – guidance that is consistent with today’s decision.

They must not abandon – let me say it again: they must not abandon their commitment to ensuring student bodies with diverse backgrounds and experiences reflect all of America.

What I propose for consideration is a new standard where colleges take into account the adversity a student has gone through when choosing among qualified applicants.

Let’s be clear: Under this new standard, as was true under the previous standard, students must first be qualified applicants. They need GPA and test scores to meet the school’s standards.

Once that test is met, however, adverse circumstances must be considered, including – including lack of – a student’s lack of financial means, because we know that very few students from low-income families, Whether in big cities or in rural communities, opportunity is available. go to college.

When a poor kid—when a poor kid—may be the first in his family to go to college—gets the same grades and test scores as a rich kid whose whole family went to the most exclusive colleges in the country and whose path is much easier. Well, the child who faced the tougher challenges has demonstrated more grit, more determination. And this should be a factor that colleges should take into account in admissions. And many still do.

It also means checking where the student grew up and went to high school.

This is meant to understand the particular difficulties that each student has faced in life, including racial discrimination that individuals have faced in their lives.

The Court says, quote, “(n)nothing in this opinion should be construed as prohibiting universities from considering an application (applicant) discussing how race has affected his or her life, But it is – through it – but “be it discrimination (or) through persuasion or otherwise.”

Because the truth is – we all know it: Discrimination still exists in America. Discrimination still exists in America. Discrimination still exists in America.

Today’s decision will not change that. It is a simple fact.

If a student has overcome adversity in the path to education, the College should recognize and value this.

Our nation’s colleges and universities must become engines of expansion of opportunities through upward mobility. But today, this is often not the case.

The Stats – A Statistic: In the US, students in the top 1 percent of family income are 77 times more likely to get into a specific college than students in the bottom 20 percent of family income. Seventy-seven percent great–more opportunities.

Today, in many schools, the only people who benefit from this system are the wealthy and well-connected. The barriers have been stacked against working people for too long.

We need a higher education system that works for everyone from Appalachia to Atlanta and beyond.

We can and must do better, and we will.

Today, I’m directing the Department of Education to analyze which practices help create a more inclusive and diverse student body and which practices hinder it, practices like legacy admissions and other systems that privilege rather than opportunity. expands.

Colleges and universities must continue their commitment to supporting, retaining, and graduating diverse students and classes.

You know, and companies — companies that are already realizing the value in diversity shouldn’t use this decision as an excuse to turn their backs on diversity.

We can’t go back.

You know, I know that today’s court decision is a serious disappointment to many, including me, but we cannot allow this decision to become a permanent blow to the country.

We have to keep the door of opportunities open. We have to remember that diversity is our strength. We have to find a way forward.

We have to remember that the promise of America is so great that everyone can succeed.

You know, this is my administration’s job and I will always fight for it.

And I want to thank all of you.

And I know you’ve been told that I have a helicopter to go to New York to do an interview. I’ll talk more about this in a live interview.

But thank you very much. And we’ll have plenty of time to talk about it. But we won’t let it break us.

Thank you.

Cue President Biden, the Congressional Black Caucus said the Supreme Court has “questioned its legitimacy.” Is this evil court?

THE PRESIDENT: This is not a normal court.

Question Should there be term limits for judges, sir?

12:57 PM EDT

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