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Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President, 2023 U.S. LEXIS 2791 (S. Ct. June 29, 2023) (Roberts, C.J.) In these cases we consider whether the admissions systems used by Harvard College and the University of North Carolina, two of the oldest institutions of higher learning in the United States, are lawful under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. In cases like these, where the plaintiff is an organization, the standing requirements of Article III can be satisfied in two ways. Either the organization can claim that it suffered an injury in its own right or, alternatively, it can assert “standing solely as the representative of its members.” Warth v. Seldin, 422 U. S. 490, 511 (1975). The latter approach is known as representational or organizational standing. Ibid.; Summers, 555 U. S., at 497-498. To invoke it, an organization must demonstrate that “(a) its members would otherwise have standing to sue in their own right; (b) the interests it seeks to protect are germane to the organization’s purpose; and (c) neither the claim asserted nor the relief requested requires the participation of individual members in the lawsuit.” Hunt v. Washington State Apple Advertising Comm’n, 432 U. S. 333, 343 (1977). The indicia of membership analysis employed in Hunt has no applicability in these cases. Here, SFFA is indisputably a voluntary membership organization with identifiable members—it is not, as in Hunt, a state agency that concededly has no members. See 2018 DC Opinion 241-242. As the First Circuit in the Harvard litigation observed, at the time SFFA filed suit, it was “a validly incorporated 501(c)(3) nonprofit with forty-seven members who joined voluntarily to support its mission.” 980 F. 3d, at 184. Meanwhile in the UNC litigation, SFFA represented four members in particular—high school graduates who were denied admission to UNC. See 2018 DC Opinion 234. Those members filed declarations with the District Court stating “that they have voluntarily joined SFFA; they support its mission; they receive updates about the status of the case from SFFA’s President; and they have had the opportunity to have input and direction on SFFA’s case.” Id., at 234-235 (internal quotation marks omitted). Where, as here, an organization has identified members and represents them in good faith, our cases do not require further scrutiny into how the organization operates. Because SFFA complies with the standing requirements demanded of organizational plaintiffs in Hunt, its obligations under Article III are satisfied. At first, this Court embraced the transcendent aims of the Equal Protection Clause. “What is this,” we said of the Clause in 1880, “but declaring that the law in the States shall be the same for the black as for the white; that all persons, whether colored or white, shall stand equal before the laws of the States?” Strauder v. West Virginia, 100 U. S. 303, 307-309. “[T]he broad and benign provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment” apply “to all persons,” we unanimously declared six years later; it is “hostility to . . . race and nationality” “which in the eye of the law is not justified.” Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U. S. 356, 368-369, 373-374 (1886); see also id., at 368 (applying the Clause to “aliens and subjects of the Emperor of China”); Truax v. Raich, 239 U. S. 33, 36 (1915) (“a native of Austria”); semble Strauder, 100 U. S., at 308-309 (“Celtic Irishmen”) (dictum). These decisions reflect the “core purpose” of the Equal Protection Clause: “do[ing] away with all governmentally imposed discrimination based on race.” Palmore v. Sidoti, 466 U. S. 429, 432 (1984) (footnote omitted). We have recognized that repeatedly. “The [*34] clear and central purpose of the Fourteenth Amendment was to eliminate all official state sources of invidious racial discrimination in the States.” Loving, 388 U. S., at 10; see also Washington v. Davis, 426 U. S. 229, 239 (1976) (“The central purpose of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment is the prevention of official conduct discriminating on the basis of race.”); McLaughlin v. Florida, 379 U. S. 184, 192 (1964) (“[T]he historical fact [is] that the central purpose of the Fourteenth Amendment was to eliminate racial discrimination.”). Eliminating racial discrimination means eliminating all of it. And the Equal Protection Clause, we have accordingly held, applies “without regard to any differences of race, of color, or of nationality”—it is “universal in [its] application.” Yick Wo, 118 U. S., at 369. For “[t]he guarantee of equal protection cannot mean one thing when applied to one individual and something else when applied to a person of another color.” Regents of Univ. of Cal. v. Bakke, 438 U. S. 265, 289-290 (1978) (opinion of Powell, J.). “If both are not accorded the same protection, then it is not equal.” Id., at 290. Any exception to the Constitution’s demand for equal protection must survive a daunting two-step examination known in our cases as “strict scrutiny.” Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Peña, 515 U. S. 200, 227 (1995). Under that standard we ask, first, whether the racial classification is used to “further compelling governmental interests.” Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U. S. 306, 326 (2003). Second, if so, we ask whether the government’s use of race is “narrowly tailored”—meaning “necessary”—to achieve that interest. Fisher v. University of Tex. at Austin, 570 U. S. 297, 311-312 (2013) (Fisher I) (internal quotation marks omitted). Outside the circumstances of these cases, our precedents have identified only two compelling interests that permit resort to race-based government action. One is remediating specific, identified instances of past discrimination that violated the Constitution or a statute. See, e.g., Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School Dist. No. 1, 551 U. S. 701, 720 (2007); Shaw v. Hunt, 517 U. S. 899, 909-910 (1996); post, at 19-20, 30-31 (opinion of Thomas, J.). The second is avoiding imminent and serious risks to human safety in prisons, such as a race riot. See Johnson v. California, 543 U. S. 499, 512-513 (2005). Our acceptance of race-based state action has been rare for a reason. “Distinctions between citizens solely because of their ancestry are by their very nature odious to a free people whose institutions are founded upon the doctrine of equality.” Rice v. Cayetano, 528 U. S. 495, 517 (2000) (quoting Hirabayashi v. United States, 320 U. S. 81, 100 (1943)). That principle cannot be overridden except in the most extraordinary case. But we have permitted race-based admissions only within the confines of narrow restrictions. University programs must comply with strict scrutiny, they may never use race as a stereotype or negative, and—at some point—they must end. Respondents’ admissions systems—however well intentioned and implemented in good faith—fail each of these criteria. They must therefore be invalidated under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Because “[r]acial discrimination [is] invidious in all contexts,” Edmonson v. Leesville Concrete Co., 500 U. S. 614, 619 (1991), we have required that universities operate their race-based admissions programs in a manner that is “sufficiently measurable to permit judicial [review]” under the rubric of strict scrutiny, Fisher v. University of Tex. at Austin, 579 U. S. 365, 381 (2016) (Fisher II). “Classifying and assigning” students based on their race “requires more than . . . an amorphous end to justify it.” Parents Involved, 551 U. S., at 735. Respondents have fallen short of satisfying that burden. First, the interests they view as compelling cannot be subjected to meaningful judicial review. Harvard identifies the following educational benefits that it is pursuing: (1) “training future leaders in the public and private sectors”; (2) preparing graduates to “adapt to an increasingly pluralistic society”; (3) “better educating its students through diversity”; and (4) “producing new knowledge stemming from diverse outlooks.” 980 F. 3d, at 173-174. UNC points to similar benefits, namely, “(1) promoting the robust exchange of ideas; (2) broadening and refining understanding; (3) fostering innovation and problem-solving; (4) preparing engaged and productive citizens and leaders; [and] (5) enhancing appreciation, respect, and empathy, cross-racial understanding, and breaking down stereotypes.” 567 F. Supp. 3d, at 656. Second, respondents admissions programs fail to articulate a meaningful connecftion between the means they employ and the goals they pursue. Courts may not license separating students on the basis of race without an exceedingly persuasive justification that is measurable and concrete enough to permit judicial review. As this Court has repeatedly reaffirmed, “[r]acial classifications are simply too pernicious to permit any but the most exact connection between justification and classification.” Gratz v. Bollinger, 539 U. S. 244, 270 (2003) (internal quotation marks omitted). The programs at issue here do not satisfy that standard.The race-based admissions systems that respondents employ also fail to comply with the twin commands of the Equal Protection Clause that race may never be used as a “negative” and that it may not operate as a stereotype. First, our cases have stressed that an individual’s race may never be used against him in the admissions process. Here, however, the First Circuit found that Harvard’s consideration of race has led to an 11.1% decrease in the number of Asian-Americans admitted to Harvard. 980 F. 3d, at 170, n. 29. And the District Court observed that Harvard’s “policy of considering applicants’ race . . . overall results in fewer Asian American and white students being admitted.” 397 F. Supp. 3d, at 178. Respondents’ admissions programs are infirm for a second reason as well. We have long held that universities may not operate their admissions programs on the “belief that minority students always (or even consistently) express some characteristic minority viewpoint on any issue.” Grutter, 539 U. S., at 333 (internal quotation marks omitted). That requirement is found throughout our Equal Protection Clause jurisprudence more generally. See, e.g., Schuette v. BAMN, 572 U. S. 291, 308 (2014) (plurality opinion) (“In cautioning against ‘impermissible racial stereotypes,’ this Court has rejected the assumption that ‘members of the same racial group—regardless of their age, education, economic status, or the community in which they live—think alike . . . .’” (quoting Shaw v. Reno, 509 U. S. 630, 647 (1993))). “One of the principal reasons race is treated as a forbidden classification is that it demeans the dignity and worth of a person to be judged by ancestry instead of by his or her own merit and essential qualities.” Rice, 528 U. S., at 517. But when a university admits students “on the basis of race, it engages in the offensive and demeaning assumption that [students] of a particular race, because of their race, think alike,” Miller v. Johnson, 515 U. S. 900, 911-912 (1995) (internal quotation marks omitted)—at the very least alike in the sense of being different from nonminority students. In doing so, the university furthers “stereotypes that treat individuals as the product of their race, evaluating their thoughts and efforts—their very worth as citizens—according to a criterion barred to the Government by history and the Constitution.” Id., at 912 (internal quotation marks omitted). Such stereotyping can only “cause[ ] continued hurt and injury,” Edmonson, 500 U. S., at 631, contrary as it is to the “core purpose” of the Equal Protection Clause, Palmore, 466 U. S., at 432. If all this were not enough, respondents’ admissions programs also lack a “logical end point.” Grutter, 539 U. S., at 342. 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 Harvard and UNC admissions programs cannot be reconciled with the guarantees of the Equal Protection Clause. Both programs lack sufficiently focused and measurable objectives warranting the use of race, unavoidably employ race in a negative manner, involve racial stereotyping, and lack meaningful end points. We have never permitted admissions programs to work in that way, and we will not do so today. At the same time, as all parties agree, nothing in this opinion should be construed as prohibiting universities from considering an applicant’s discussion of how race affected his or her life, be it through discrimination, inspiration, or otherwise. See, e.g., 4 App. in No. 21-707, at 1725-1726, 1741; Tr. of Oral Arg. in No. 20-1199, at 10. But, despite the dissent’s assertion to the contrary, universities may not simply establish through application essays or other means the regime we hold unlawful today. (A dissenting opinion is generally not the best source of legal advice on how to comply with the majority opinion.) “[W]hat cannot be done directly cannot be done indirectly. The Constitution deals with substance, not shadows,” and the prohibition against racial discrimination is “levelled at the thing, not the name.” Cummings v. Missouri, 4 Wall. 277, 325 (1867). A benefit to a student who overcame racial discrimination, for example, must be tied to that student’s courage and determination. Or a benefit to a student whose heritage or culture motivated him or her to assume a leadership role or attain a particular goal must be tied to that student’s unique ability to contribute to the university. In other words, the student must be treated based on his or her experiences as an individual—not on the basis of race. Many universities have for too long done just the opposite. And in doing so, they have concluded, wrongly, that the touchstone of an individual’s identity is not challenges bested, skills built, or lessons learned but the color of their skin. Our constitutional history does not tolerate that choice. The judgments of the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and of the District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina are reversed.