A ruling that could reshape U.S. university admissions
In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court rejected race-conscious affirmative action at colleges and universities, declaring that admissions programs at Harvard and the University of North Carolina were unlawful and sharply curtailing a policy that had long been a pillar of higher education.
The two colleges’ “admissions programs cannot be reconciled with the guarantees of the equal protection clause,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority. Both programs “unavoidably employ race in a negative manner, involve racial stereotyping and lack meaningful end points,” he added.
In a rare dissent from the bench, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said that affirmative action was crucial to countering persistent and systematic racial discrimination. In all, six justices issued opinions across more than 200 pages that were notable for sometimes harsh language and starkly differing accounts of the nation’s history and the role race plays in contemporary society.
Effects: Student populations of elite institutions are all but certain to become whiter and more Asian and less Black and Latino. The decision could complicate diversity efforts elsewhere, narrowing the pipeline of highly credentialed minority candidates and making it harder for employers to consider race in hiring.
Context: The court’s conservative supermajority, with three justices appointed by Donald Trump, has been moving at a brisk pace to take on some of the thorniest and most divisive issues in American society, including abortion, guns and now race — all in the span of a year.
Analysis: “This was a momentous decision,” said Anemona Hartocollis, who covers American higher education for The Times. “We don’t know exactly how it will play out, except that we know that the traditional way of doing things is over.”
‘We don’t forget, we don’t forgive’
Riots after the police shooting of a teenager moved into a third night across France, with protesters in more than a dozen cities burning cars, setting fire to buildings and vandalizing and lighting fireworks outside police stations. About 180 people have been arrested and 170 officers have been injured, France’s interior minister said.
The 17-year-old victim, identified as Nahel M., was shot dead by a police officer in Nanterre, a suburb of Paris. The teenager had been driving in a bus lane, the prosecutor said, and when officers tried to stop him, he drove through a red light to get away. He then got stuck in traffic, and officers approached the car. The prosecutor said he was killed by a single shot that went through his left arm and chest.
Initial news media reports said that the teenager had driven into the two officers on the scene. But a video of the shooting that emerged shortly afterward appeared to contradict that account, showing that the officer who fired the shot was not in any immediate danger because the car was driving away. The diverging accounts contributed to the violent unrest.
Consequences: The Nanterre prosecutor’s office announced that the officer had been placed under formal investigation on charges of voluntary homicide and detained. In anticipation of further unrest, tens of thousands of police officers were deployed across the country last night, an official said.
On the ground: They called him their son, their brother, their friend, and they came by the thousands to grieve, to vent and to revolt. “We don’t forget, we don’t forgive,” crowds chanted. The unrest has revived memories of 2005, when the deaths of two teenagers running from the police set off weeks of violent protest.
Top Russian general has been detained, officials say
U.S. officials, citing early intelligence reports, say that Russian authorities appear to have detained a top general, Sergei Surovikin, under suspicion that he was involved in or had knowledge of the planning for the Wagner private military company’s failed rebellion last weekend. U.S. officials would not say — or do not know — whether he was formally arrested or just held for questioning.
Focus has been intense in Russia on the fate of Surovikin, the country’s former top commander in Ukraine, since The Times reported that U.S. spy agencies believe he knew ahead of time about the rebellion led by Yevgeny Prigozhin against Russia’s military leadership. It is unclear whether he simply knew about the revolt or helped plan it.
There were conflicting reports in the Russian news media about Surovikin’s fate. Some pro-war bloggers on the Telegram social network reported this week that he had been arrested, while others said that was not the case.
In other news from the war:
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Cindy Birdsong, left, once reigned as a member of the Supremes. But after leaving the group in 1976, she withdrew from the limelight and lived a reclusive life inside a Los Angeles apartment she shared with Rochelle Lander, a longtime friend.
Birdsong’s family has now gone to court to request a legal conservatorship to govern her affairs. They said Lander was exerting undue influence over the singer’s life, isolating her from friends and family even after she was incapacitated by several strokes.
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A “Manchester United tax” on transfers: The latest on the Mason Mount transfer saga as the team weighs whether to continue its pursuit or walk away.
Oscar Piastri’s rise as F1’s everyman: McLaren’s young driver is taking his first season in stride, battling his way to five points in eight races.
From The Times: A pitcher for the Yankees threw a perfect game, the first in Major League Baseball since 2012.
ARTS AND IDEAS
Performing while pregnant
Many opera singers say they work best while pregnant. Doctors are unsure why: It could be because of increased blood flow, or added pressure on the diaphragm, or a new awareness of muscles and posture. After childbirth, the voice also seems enriched with warmth, creaminess and depth of color.
“Everything was so easy,” said the soprano Kathryn Lewek, who performed in Mozart’s “Magic Flute” through two pregnancies. “High notes just came shooting out of me.”
But when opera singers want to perform pregnant, they rely on the good will and skill of a creative team to make costume changes and other adjustments to the show. And all too often, they say, they are simply removed from roles for reasons that seem motivated by their appearance rather than their sound.
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