By Sherrilyn A. Ifill, New York Times

The decision is in. All consideration of race in college admissions is over.

Cameron Clarke hopes to attend Princeton University next year.

Cameron Clarke hopes to attend Princeton University next year.

No, the Supreme Court has not yet announced its decision in the landmark case of Fisher v. University of Texas; that ruling is expected any day now. But an alarming number of scholars, pundits and columnists — many of them liberal — have declared that economic class, not race, should be the appropriate focus of university affirmative-action efforts.

How can we explain this decision to throw in the towel on race-based affirmative action? Are we witnessing a surrender in advance of sure defeat? Or just an early weariness with a debate that, a decade ago, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor predicted would last another 25 years?

Perhaps it is the presence of a black president that has encouraged so many to believe that race is simply no longer a significant factor in American life. It is true that we have come a long way since the days of Jim Crow segregation. But the plain fact is that race still matters….

If the Supreme Court reverses its 2003 decision to uphold affirmative action on campus and outlaw any consideration of race in admissions decisions, it would be radical — a tragic culmination of decades of backtracking on racial justice.

Read the rest of Ifill’s opinion piece here.

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