“The principal dissent wrenches our case law from its context, going to lengths to ignore the parts of that law it does not like. The serious reservations that Bakke, Grutter, and Fisher had about racial preferences go unrecognized,” Roberts began. “The unambiguous requirements of the Equal Protection Clause — ‘the most rigid,’ ‘searching’ scrutiny it entails — go without note.”
“And the repeated demands that race-based admissions programs must end go overlooked — contorted, worse still, into a demand that such programs never stop,” Roberts continued. “Most troubling of all is what the dissent must make these omissions to defend: a judiciary that picks winners and losers based on the color of their skin. While the dissent would certainly not permit university programs that discriminated against black and Latino applicants, it is perfectly willing to let the programs here continue. In its view, this Court is supposed to tell state actors when they have picked the right races to benefit. Separate but equal is ‘inherently unequal,’ said Brown. 347 U. S., at 495 (emphasis added). It depends, says the dissent.”
The Chief Justice went on to attack the liberal justices’ apparent attempt to reserve for the Court the power to choose which race deserve such beneficial treatment, saying it was so egregious that it mirrored decisions rendered before the “Second Founding” — when the post-Civil-War-era 14th Amendment and the included Equal Protection Clause put an end to the Court’s freedom to do so.