“Race matters in the lived experience of Americans, even if legal barriers are gone,” wrote Justice Ketanji Brown-Jackson in her eloquent dissent from the Supreme Court decision ordering an end to affirmative action in higher education.

She denounced the Court’s cynical advocacy of “colorblindness.” That colorblindness takes U.S. law back to the days before the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education ruling against school segregation.

In Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court overturned more than half a century of a lie: the lie that separate schools were equal schools. Back then, the Court recognized the truth that segregation meant inherently unequal schools. In its ruling, the Court considered facts as well as law, specifically, social science research on the impact of segregation. 

In Students for Fair Admission v. Harvard, the Supreme Court held that the law must ignore race. To reach that conclusion, the majority ignored evidence of continuing segregation, discrimination, and racism.

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