Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., faced an onslaught of criticism Thursday after she provided her take on the Supreme Court’s affirmative action ruling and suggested the high court isn’t serious about it’s “ludicrous ‘colorblindness’ claims” or else it would have “abolished” legacy admissions.
“If SCOTUS was serious about their ludicrous ‘colorblindness’ claims, they would have abolished legacy admissions, aka affirmative action for the privileged,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote in a tweet.
The “Squad” Democrat went on to note “70% of Harvard’s legacy applicants are white” and that the Supreme Court “didn’t touch that – which would have impacted them and their patrons.”
Ocasio-Cortez’s remarks came shortly after it was announced that the court rejected the use of race as a factor in college admissions as a violation of the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.
Responding to Ocasio-Cortez, several social media users who took issue with the lawmaker’s remarks were quick to point out that the Supreme Court did not hear a case about college and university legacy admissions – the practice of giving preference to the children of alumni.
“Absolute gibberish. There is no case before SCOTUS that is related to legacy admissions,” one user explained in a tweet. “Also, the Constitution specifically disallows racial discrimination, not [privileges] for relatives of alumni. That’s what makes this a legal issue, instead of just a policy preference.”
“This is how AOC thinks the court operates,” Washington Free Beacon investigative reporter Joe Gabriel Simonson wrote in a tweet.
Another user wrote, “But the point of legacy admissions isn’t to admit students based on race. It’s just an outcome you don’t like. As opposed to affirmative action, which uses race as a criteria for selection.”
“There’s bad politics, and then there’s ‘the court should have abolished a thing that’s never been brought before the court,'” another said in a tweet.
Others, like attorney and conservative commentator Viva Frei, drew parallels between the percentage of white Harvard legacy applicants and the total population of white people in America as they took aim at Ocasio-Cortez.
“According to @AOC, Harvard is racist because 70% of legacy applicants are white. Just ignore the fact that 71% of America is white,” Frei wrote in a tweet.
Highlighting the population total of white Americans, Shri Thakur, head of political affairs for the Notre Dame College Republicans, suggested that Harvard’s legacy admissions program “suggests legacy helps minorities.”
“Furthermore, can any of these people discuss affirmative action without whataboutism? AOC is not very smart,” Thakur added in the tweet.
During a Thursday evening interview with MSNBC’s Katy Tur, Education Secretary Miquel Cardona suggested that legacy admission programs offered by Harvard and other institutions should be looked into, saying they “expand privilege, not opportunity.”
“We need to recognize that if we’re gonna look at the tools that are being used for college admissions, we have to look at all of them,” said Cardona, who previously served as the commissioner of education in Connecticut. “So, right now, our focus is on providing information to colleges around the SCOTUS decision and what tools they still have available.”
South Carolina Republican Sen. Tim Scott – a 2024 Republican presidential candidate – called for colleges to end legacy-based admissions.
“I think the question is how do you continue to create a culture where education is the goal for every single part of our community? One of the things that Harvard could do to make that even better is to eliminate any legacy programs where they have preferential treatment for legacy kids, not allow for the professors — their kids to come to Harvard as well,” Scott said during an appearance on Fox News Channel’s “The Faulkner Focus.”
In February, Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., and Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., introduced the Fair College Admissions for Students Act in an effort to “reform the legacy and donor admissions practices at universities across the country and ensure equity in the admissions process.”