Reform Jewish Movement Responds to Today's Supreme Court Rulings on Affirmative Action
Saperstein: On the whole, the message from the Court today is an important reaffirmation of the value and vitality of affirmative action.
Contact: Alexis Rice or Barbara Weinstein 202-387-2800
WASHINGTON, June 23, 2003 - In a response to today's 5-4 Supreme Court decisions regarding the University of Michigan's affirmative action admissions programs, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC), released the following statement:
We are greatly pleased that the Supreme Court today reaffirmed the important value of diversity in higher education and our country in general by supporting both the principle of affirmative action and specifically the admissions policy used by the University of Michigan's law school. At the same time, we are disappointed by the Court's decision striking down the University's undergraduate admission's program, which we believe to be narrowly-enough tailored to conform with the Court's earlier decision in Bakke, while also being an effective means of promoting diversity in higher education. On the whole, the message from the Court today is an important reaffirmation of the value and vitality of affirmative action. The Reform Movement has long recognized the immense value of such diversity and supported the University of Michigan's narrowly-tailored admissions programs. In 1977, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations held that "the continual denial of equal opportunity makes it morally obligatory that universities, labor unions, employers and governmental institutions utilize goals and timetables (rather than quotas) in an effort to provide economic and educational opportunities for qualified Blacks, Latinos, women and economically disadvantaged persons and minorities." Our history has taught us that all people benefit when barriers to equality are removed. While we are disappointed by the Court's ruling on the undergraduate program, we applaud the Court for today's decision pertaining to the law school, reaffirming that there continues to be a pressing need to work against the historic injustices that remain a blight on our society.
The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC) , whose over 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews , and the Central Conference of American Rabbis(CCAR) whose membership includes over 1800 Reform rabbis .