Inslee statement on SCOTUS ruling gutting affirmative action

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Gov. Jay Inslee released the following statement after the U.S. Supreme Court upended decades of legal precedent by gutting affirmative action policies in higher education.

“These Republican-appointed judges have again shown their disdain for well-established principles of American law. They’ve demonstrated they are blind to the fact that our long history of racism contributes to the opportunity barriers ethnic minorities still face today,” Gov. Jay Inslee said.

“Our state will continue advancing the cause of equity in higher education and government. As with past rulings from this court that have made our society less equitable for women, people of color, and other marginalized communities, Washington state will respond however necessary to continue advancing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision of the arc of the moral universe that bends toward justice.”

Background on affirmative action in Washington:

  • In January 2022, Gov. Inslee rescinded overly restrictive guidance on affirmative action policies in our state in compliance with I-200, giving state agencies tools to identify, document and eradicate discrimination and disparities in their institutions.
  • His directive also tasked the Washington Student Achievement Council with tracking student success across subpopulations and the effectiveness of existing programs designed to root out discrimination in higher education.
  • The governor followed these actions later in March 2022 by issuing an executive order implementing the Office of Equity’s Pro-Equity Anti-Racism (PEAR) plan and playbook across state government to reduce disparities. Agencies’ first PEAR annual performance reports are due to the Office of Equity by September 1 of this year and every year thereafter.