Why the Alito Nomination to the Supreme Court Is So Important to Black Americans

Samuel Alito's membership in the Concerned Alumni of Princeton, a group that was strongly opposed to affirmative action admissions for women and minorities at the university, makes it evident that Alito will move the Supreme Court to the right on issues of affirmative action and better opportunities for black Americans.

At last week's confirmation hearings Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware noted that Sandra Day O'Connor was the "fulcrum on an otherwise evenly divided Court." And on affirmative action issues, O'Connor usually tilted the Court to the left. Biden observed that many of the 5-4 decisions of the Court over the time O'Connor was a sitting justice would have been 5-4 decisions for the conservative viewpoint if Alito were to replace O'Connor.

Well-funded right-wing litigating groups are set to navigate affirmative action in higher education. There can be little doubt that issues of race-sensitive admissions, race-based scholarships, and other issues involving equal access to higher education will soon once again reach the Supreme Court. With Judge Alito replacing Justice O'Connor, the decisions are likely to go against the position favored by the vast majority of African Americans.

When the Senate tallies the confirmation vote, the admission of tens of thousands of black students to colleges, universities, and graduate schools each year may hang in the balance.


Copyright © 2006. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. All rights reserved.