What a difference a Justice makes. Yesterday’s Supreme Court decision striking down two voluntary school integration programs undermines the promise of Brown v. Board of Education while simultaneously ignoring the continuing impact of racial inequality in this country.

Both Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito had nothing but praise for Brown during their confirmation hearings. Justice Alito described the ruling as “one of the greatest, if not the single greatest thing, that the Supreme Court of the United States has ever done.

There’s no denying that the new composition of the Court has had an impact. In 2003, with Justice O’Connor on the bench, the Supreme Court ruled to preserve affirmative action practices in higher education. Just four years later, her replacement has moved the nation backwards on key civil rights protections.

Now is the time to look forward. We’ve seen the impact just one vote can have on the Supreme Court. When the next vacancy comes, it is imperative the Americans stand up and demand a nominee who is committed to the principle of equal justice under the law.