So What Just Happened to Affirmative Action?

From the NAACP to the Advancement Project, those who were paying the closest attention to Monday's ruling weigh in.

A demonstration in support of affirmative action (Getty Images)
A demonstration in support of affirmative action (Getty Images)

A Critical Move Toward Equal Opportunity

Roslyn M. Brock, chairman of the NAACP national board of directors, called the ruling “a critical decision toward ensuring equal opportunity in education. It is in our nation’s best interest to grant a fair chance to people with various backgrounds and ethnicities,” she said. “In today’s global economy, all Americans will benefit from a diverse and inclusive environment in higher education.”

Pleased and Optimistic

“We are pleased that the court chose to affirm that there is a place for race in university admissions,” NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous said when the decision was announced. “There is a need and a benefit for our nation to ensure all students gets a close look and a fair shot. We remain optimistic that colleges and universities will continue to act to keep doors open to students of all backgrounds.”

Disagree, but Grateful

The Advancement Project’s Co-Director Penda Hair said in a statement: “We are grateful the Supreme Court’s decision continues to recognize that colleges and universities can use race to achieve their compelling interest in having a diverse student body.” However, she added, “the court did not have to send the case back to the Court of Appeals, because as shown in Advancement Project’s amicus brief filed in the case, the university’s use of race was clearly necessary under even the most exacting standard.”

Applause for Diversity

Kim Keenan, the NAACP’s general counsel, said the NAACP “applauds the court’s preservation of the Grutter standard permitting universities to consider racial and ethnic diversity as one factor among many in a carefully crafted admissions policy.”

Keenan says she’s “confident that 5th Circuit will uphold the policy.” 

Jenée Desmond-Harris is The Root’s staff writer and White House correspondent. Follow her on Twitter.