By Casey Harper
President Barack Obama contradicted himself while speaking about the Supreme Court’s affirmative action ruling Thursday.
The Supreme Court upheld the University of Texas’ race-based admissions standards in a 4-3 vote. A white student female student sued the school after she was denied admission, claiming she was rejected for being white. Obama held a press conference after the ruling and entirely contradicted himself.
“First, in the affirmative action case I’m pleased the Supreme Court upheld the notion that diversity is an important value in our society and that this country should provide high quality education to all young people regardless of background,” Obama said.
The problem is, considering students “regardless of background” is the opposite of what Obama supports. Obama went on in his speech to celebrate the Supreme Court decision, which allows colleges to factor in students’ socioeconomic background and race when making admissions decisions.
In the court’s opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy clearly points out that the point of the college’s admissions process was to consider a student’s background. The school used a Personal Achievement Index, which considered a variety of factors, including race and socioeconomic background. That index is combined with the Achievement Index, which is based on test scores and grades, to rate a student.
“Included in the number were the applicant’s essays, leadership and work experience, extracurricular activities, community service, and other ‘special characteristics’ that might give the admissions committee insight into a student’s background,” Kennedy writes.
“There is also no dispute, however, that race, when considered in conjunction with other aspects of an applicant’s background, can alter an applicant’s PAS score,” the opinion continues. “Thus, race, in this indirect fashion, considered with all of the other factors that make up an applicant’s AI and PAI scores, can make a difference to whether an application is accepted or rejected.”