SCOTUS Affirmative Action Ruling Only First Step Toward Restoring Civil Rights

Commentary In a free society that champions equality, judging people on their merits rather than on their skin color would be an uncontroversial practice. So, that America’s ruling class recoiled in horror at the Supreme Court’s decision in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard, which barred affirmative action in admissions at schools receiving government largesse, was telling. Our elites betrayed their “anti-racist” belief in discriminating on the basis of race, purportedly to right past wrongs and achieve “equity.” Proponents of equity seek to engineer social outcomes such that people are represented in all aspects of life proportionally by identity. Minimally, such efforts empower the engineers. Equity, which is antithetical to equality, and, when pursued in violation of our rights, corrosive of the liberty and justice those rights underpin, is central to the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) regime elites have imposed on the country. In theory, the Court’s jurisprudence threatens to unravel that regime, or at least state sponsorship of it. This, in part, explains the elite’s apoplexy. In practice, however, as can be seen in Harvard’s near-instant telegraphing in the wake of the Court’s decision that it would use proxies for race to maintain a de facto affirmative action program, our elites will do everything possible to circumvent the ruling. To uphold the decision’s letter and spirit, that of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment on which it’s based, and more broadly defend the inalienable rights of the smallest minority—the individual—lawmakers, litigators, and liberty-and-justice-loving Americans will have to act. To that end, a recent amendment to a key piece of federal legislation, which preceded the Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard decision, should serve as the starting point of a broad-based effort to roll back what amounts to state-sanctioned racism and restore genuine civil rights. The amendment (pdf), offered by Republican Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana, to the 2024 National Defense Authorization Act, prohibits the military from using race or gender as a factor in recruitment and mandates that the military base any “accession, assignment, selection, or promotion” decisions on merit. It speaks volumes that any such law might be necessary. The government can’t lawfully discriminate in hiring or promotion on such grounds. And when it comes to the military, personnel decisions are literally matters of life and death—the very survival of our nation depends on fielding the strongest and smartest fighting force possible, period. Yet, as has been well documented, the entirety of the national security and foreign policy (pdf) apparatus, like the rest of a government already populated overwhelmingly with progressives, has gone woke. President Joe Biden has codified this effort, most notably through two executive orders mandating that every part of the government work to “affirmatively advance equity.” The wokeness has manifested itself in the military (pdf) not only in “extremism” stand-downs (pdf) and recommended reading lists featuring anti-racist doyens such as Ibram X. Kendi, or the celebration of maternity flight suits and transgender majors, but in diversity and inclusion (pdf) directives (pdf) and related policy documents (pdf) pushing for changes to the composition of the armed forces by race and sex—some even setting explicit recruitment targets (pdf) by these factors. Rep. Banks said of his amendment that the Biden Defense Department’s “indefensible race and gender-based treatment of servicemembers is making our military weaker and our nation less safe,” urging anti-woke legislators to continue combatting “the Biden administration’s radical attempts to deny Americans’ equal protection under the law.” The amendment was one of a battery Mr. Banks brought pertaining to combatting military wokeism. That effort is part and parcel of that of the House Anti-Woke Caucus he chairs, which has aimed to rip wokeism root and branch out of the federal government in part through seeking to defund woke programs at scale. These anti-woke initiatives should serve as a model for legislators not only at the federal level, but also at the state and local levels as well for how to make the Court’s ruling not only durable but far more wide-reaching. Every legislative body with jurisdiction should be passing legislation to ensure that not a single penny of taxpayer dollars, nor any other government-granted privileges are conferred upon those institutions that discriminate in ways violative of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. Such legislation incidentally should include barring the nation’s military academies, which were not covered (pdf) by the Supreme Court’s affirmative action ruling, from factoring race into admissions. Governments, and every institution they touch, should be driven by one thing and one thing alone: excellence. This has the virtue of not

SCOTUS Affirmative Action Ruling Only First Step Toward Restoring Civil Rights

Commentary

In a free society that champions equality, judging people on their merits rather than on their skin color would be an uncontroversial practice.

So, that America’s ruling class recoiled in horror at the Supreme Court’s decision in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard, which barred affirmative action in admissions at schools receiving government largesse, was telling.

Our elites betrayed their “anti-racist” belief in discriminating on the basis of race, purportedly to right past wrongs and achieve “equity.” Proponents of equity seek to engineer social outcomes such that people are represented in all aspects of life proportionally by identity. Minimally, such efforts empower the engineers.

Equity, which is antithetical to equality, and, when pursued in violation of our rights, corrosive of the liberty and justice those rights underpin, is central to the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) regime elites have imposed on the country.

In theory, the Court’s jurisprudence threatens to unravel that regime, or at least state sponsorship of it. This, in part, explains the elite’s apoplexy.

In practice, however, as can be seen in Harvard’s near-instant telegraphing in the wake of the Court’s decision that it would use proxies for race to maintain a de facto affirmative action program, our elites will do everything possible to circumvent the ruling.

To uphold the decision’s letter and spirit, that of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment on which it’s based, and more broadly defend the inalienable rights of the smallest minority—the individual—lawmakers, litigators, and liberty-and-justice-loving Americans will have to act.

To that end, a recent amendment to a key piece of federal legislation, which preceded the Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard decision, should serve as the starting point of a broad-based effort to roll back what amounts to state-sanctioned racism and restore genuine civil rights.

The amendment (pdf), offered by Republican Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana, to the 2024 National Defense Authorization Act, prohibits the military from using race or gender as a factor in recruitment and mandates that the military base any “accession, assignment, selection, or promotion” decisions on merit.

It speaks volumes that any such law might be necessary.

The government can’t lawfully discriminate in hiring or promotion on such grounds. And when it comes to the military, personnel decisions are literally matters of life and death—the very survival of our nation depends on fielding the strongest and smartest fighting force possible, period.

Yet, as has been well documented, the entirety of the national security and foreign policy (pdf) apparatus, like the rest of a government already populated overwhelmingly with progressives, has gone woke.

President Joe Biden has codified this effort, most notably through two executive orders mandating that every part of the government work to “affirmatively advance equity.”

The wokeness has manifested itself in the military (pdf) not only in “extremism” stand-downs (pdf) and recommended reading lists featuring anti-racist doyens such as Ibram X. Kendi, or the celebration of maternity flight suits and transgender majors, but in diversity and inclusion (pdf) directives (pdf) and related policy documents (pdf) pushing for changes to the composition of the armed forces by race and sex—some even setting explicit recruitment targets (pdf) by these factors.

Rep. Banks said of his amendment that the Biden Defense Department’s “indefensible race and gender-based treatment of servicemembers is making our military weaker and our nation less safe,” urging anti-woke legislators to continue combatting “the Biden administration’s radical attempts to deny Americans’ equal protection under the law.”

The amendment was one of a battery Mr. Banks brought pertaining to combatting military wokeism.

That effort is part and parcel of that of the House Anti-Woke Caucus he chairs, which has aimed to rip wokeism root and branch out of the federal government in part through seeking to defund woke programs at scale.

These anti-woke initiatives should serve as a model for legislators not only at the federal level, but also at the state and local levels as well for how to make the Court’s ruling not only durable but far more wide-reaching.

Every legislative body with jurisdiction should be passing legislation to ensure that not a single penny of taxpayer dollars, nor any other government-granted privileges are conferred upon those institutions that discriminate in ways violative of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

Such legislation incidentally should include barring the nation’s military academies, which were not covered (pdf) by the Supreme Court’s affirmative action ruling, from factoring race into admissions.

Governments, and every institution they touch, should be driven by one thing and one thing alone: excellence.

This has the virtue of not only being the right principle—that is, judging people based on their skills, abilities, and ambitions, rather than on the basis of their identities—but also the prudent thing to do, particularly in areas such as the military, or medicine, where lives are at stake.

Rep. Banks said in the wake of the Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard decision that it was “just the beginning of eliminating race as a determining factor for success in our military, federal government, and boardrooms across the country and the Anti-Woke Caucus will be at the front of that fight to restore colorblind meritocracy.”

Indeed, the ruling should be seen not as the conclusion of the decades-long effort to end affirmative action, but merely the opening salvo in a much greater culture war over America’s once-hallowed institutions.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.