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Republican presidential candidates are applauding the ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court's conservative majority to severely limit the use of race in determining college admissions.
In a 6-3 decision announced on Thursday, the justices ruled that the use of race as a factor in college admissions was a violation of the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause. The Supreme Court's ruling upends decades of affirmative action programs that colleges and universities had used to select students.
"The world admires America because we value freedom and opportunity. The Supreme Court reaffirmed those values today," GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley wrote in a statement.
Haley, a former two-term South Carolina governor who later served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said, "Picking winners and losers based on race is fundamentally wrong. This decision will help every student — no matter their background — have a better opportunity to achieve the American Dream."
Haley, the daughter of immigrants from India, grew up to become South Carolina’s first female governor.
Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, in an interview on the Fox News Channel, also applauded the ruling, saying, "This is a good day for America. This is the day where we understand that being judged by the content of our character, not the color of our skin, is what our Constitution wants."
The senator also added, "I’m not sure that going to an elite university is the path to prosperity."
"It is actually going as high as your character, your grit, and your talent will take you," said Scott, the only Black Republican in the Senate.
Multimillionaire entrepreneur and conservative commentator Vivek Ramaswamy, whose parents also immigrated to the U.S. from India, argued in a statement that "meritocracy & equity are fundamentally incompatible. Let’s call affirmative action what it really is: institutional racism."
"The Supreme Court has finally ended toxic racial quotas in college admissions, one of the worst failed policy experiments of the last century," Ramaswamy emphasized.
Ramaswamy made a prediction about the ruling, stating, "Mark my words: the Supreme Court’s ruling is a step in the right direction, but it will spawn the beginning of a new era of ‘shadow’ racial balancing, where universities & companies play complex games that deprioritize numerical academic metrics to still achieve the same goals."
Ex-CIA spy and former Texas Rep. Will Hurd, who launched his presidential campaign last week, told Fox News, "With or without affirmative action we are failing to prepare too many of our Black and brown students for higher education. That’s the problem."
"We have income inequality because we have education inequality. Our elementary, middle and high schools need the right support from State governments and the federal government… otherwise this is going to continue to plague our kids for generations to come," added Hurd, who is Black.
Former California gubernatorial candidate and former nationally syndicated talk radio host Larry Elder said, "I applaud the Supreme Court's decision."
"Discrimination to fix historical discrimination is still discrimination. Affirmative action is divisive, undermines merit and does more harm than good. When it has been put to voters in states like California and Michigan, it has been voted down," he said.
Elder, who is Black, added, "As for Blacks and Hispanics having difficulty getting into the more competitive colleges, we should address the abysmal quality of urban K through 12 public schools. The left that bemoans this Supreme Court decision opposes school choice despite the fact that it offers parents options to improve test scores and graduation rates for the Black and Hispanic students that Democrats purport to care so much about."
Former President Donald Trump, the current front-runner in the 2024 GOP nomination race as he makes his third straight White House run, said in a statement that "this is a great day for America."
"People with extraordinary ability and everything else necessary for success, including future greatness for our country, are finally being rewarded. This is the ruling everyone was waiting and hoping for and the result was amazing. It will also keep us competitive with the rest of the world. Our greatest minds must be cherished and that’s what this wonderful day has brought. We’re going back to all merit-based — and that’s the way it should be!" he added.
The campaign of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis tweeted out a video of Trump from a 2015 NBC News interview, when the then-2016 presidential candidate said he was "fine with affirmative action," noting "we’ve lived with it for a long time."
DeSantis, reacting to the ruling, said in a statement on social media that "college admissions should be based on merit and applicants should not be judged on their race or ethnicity. The Supreme Court has correctly upheld the Constitution and ended discrimination by colleges and universities."
Former Vice President Mike Pence wrote in a statement that "there is no place for discrimination based on race in the United States, and I am pleased that the Supreme Court has put an end to this egregious violation of civil and constitutional rights in admissions processes, which only served to perpetuate racism."
Pence added that he is "honored to have played a role in appointing three of the Justices that ensured today’s welcomed decision, and as President I will continue to appoint judges who will strictly apply the law rather than twisting it to serve woke and progressive ends."