The Supreme Court decision ruling against affirmative action in higher education could potentially lead to the dismantling of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs in corporate America, experts told Fox News.
Last month, the high court delivered a 6-3 ruling stating that colleges and universities are prohibited from factoring race considerations into their admissions process. The ruling effectively eliminates what is commonly known as affirmative action and overturns previous legal precedents that permitted such practices.
“The decision has sparked debate on if and how it could influence other sectors of public life, including the hiring and promotion practices of companies and corporations,” Fox News added.
According to experts interviewed by Fox News Digital, the Supreme Court’s decision could potentially expose corporations to liability concerning “woke-ism” in DEI programs and policies.
Will Hild, the executive director of Consumers’ Research, argues that the recent Supreme Court case could potentially expose companies that prioritize race in their staffing decisions as violating the Civil Rights Act.
“That fig leaf has now gone. There’s no question that affirmative action, racially based hiring and promotion schemes violate the Civil Rights Act,” Hild told the outlet.
“And you no longer have this even potential loophole of the affirmative action jurisprudence. I think, one, you’re going to see a lot of companies, their legal compliance officers, are going to review what their DEI departments are doing and probably tell them to cut it out,” he said.
“I think you’ll see a lot of companies who might even get rid of their DEI departments because the philosophy around the DEI is almost directly in contradiction with law to begin with,” he added.
Hild explained that although most affirmative action legal precedent has been associated with higher education, corporations have also been using that jurisprudence to support DEI practices.
“This is going to put wind in the sails of groups like mine and others who are focused on getting the ‘woke-ism’ out of corporate America. They no longer even have this fig leaf of this pre-Harvard case jurisprudence,” Hild said.
Hild noted that between 2020 and 2022, he observed companies involved in “hiring promotion schemes” that, in some instances, were “explicitly racially based.” These companies may now be susceptible to potential litigation.
“And they were already I think, playing with fire there and inviting some pretty serious litigation. Now, there really isn’t even a legal argument to be made that they can engage in this kind of behavior.” Hild said.
Gene Hamilton, the general counsel for America First Legal, stated that the Supreme Court decision is “writing on the wall” for corporations, indicating that significant changes may be ahead.
“If I was advising major corporations and law schools and medical schools and everything else, I would tell them to immediately get out of the business of racial preferences and out of the business of racial quotas,” Hamilton said.
“Because what we see is the writing on the wall. We see the fact that there is no tolerance amongst the majority of Supreme Court for these types of divisive programs,” he said.
“Tread carefully,” Hamilton noted further, because “there is a lot of liability for employers in this space.”