Clarence Thomas: Affirmative action no better than Jim Crow segregation

A 7-1 majority of the Supreme Court on Monday punted on the affirmative action case of Fisher v. University of Texas Austin.

But conservative champion Justice Clarence Thomas made no bones about where he stood in his opinion, even though he concurred with the court’s decision to send the case back to a lower court for further review.

clarencethomasThe Fisher case involved a white woman – since graduated from another school – who sued over an affirmative action program that she said allowed less qualified minorities to take her place in the class she applied to enter.

The high court didn’t rule on the case itself, but Thomas did in his own way, making clear that affirmative action has no more justifiable place in American education now than segregation did in the Jim Crow South.

Here, via the Post, are some selections of Thomas opinion released today.

  • “The University’s arguments today are no more persuasive than they were 60 years ago. … There is no principled distinction between the University’s assertion that diversity yields educational benefits and the segregationists’ assertion that segregation yielded those same benefits.”

“The worst forms of racial discrimination in this Nation have always been accompanied by straight-faced representations that discrimination helped minorities.”

  • “Unfortunately for the University, the educational benefits flowing from student body diversity — assuming they exist — hardly qualify as a compelling state interest. Indeed, the argument that educational benefits justify racial discrimination was advanced in support of racial segregation in the 1950’s, but emphatically rejected by this Court. And just as the alleged educational benefits of segregation were insufficient to justify racial discrimination then … the alleged educational benefits of diversity cannot justify racial discrimination today.”
  • “It is also noteworthy that, in our desegregation cases, we rejected arguments that are virtually identical to those advanced by the University today. The University asserts, for instance, that the diversity obtained through its discriminatory admissions program prepares its students to become leaders in a diverse society.  … The segregationists likewise defended segregation on the ground that it provided more leadership opportunities for blacks  …”

Thomas has held those positions for years and in the opinion released today he continues his fight for them. Any conservative who remembers the controversy that surrounded his confirmation can only be grateful that 1991 media smear was defeated.


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