Justice Clarence Thomas Deals DEATH BLOW To Affirmative Action

Clarence Thomas Compares Affirmative Action Arguments to Segregation

Clarence Thomas Compares Affirmative Action Arguments to Segregation

(LibertySociety.com) – On October 31, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said the arguments he was hearing in support of affirmative action were similar to those “in favor of segregation, too.” Currently, two separate cases sit in front of SCOTUS: Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina and Students for Fair Admissions Inc. v. President & Fellows of Harvard College. Both address the role of race in college admissions and whether current university practices are constitutional. Thomas was hearing arguments from North Carolina Solicitor General Ryan Park when he made the comparison.

The Discussion with the Justice

Justice Thomas asked Park to define diversity and explain the “educational benefits” of perpetuating the idea on college campuses. The attorney bounced the question back to the court, saying he agreed with SCOTUS’ previous definition of the word. Park said it means a “broadly diverse set of criteria” including all “different backgrounds and perspectives” from various races. The litigator said he believes the benefits to the education system come from the wide range of ideas exchanged among peers, leading to longer discussions, and “more efficient outcome[s].” Park said having varying perspectives reduces “groupthink.”

The SCOTUS justices responded by comparing his reasoning to those who wanted to keep segregation alive. This isn’t the first time Thomas drew a link between the practice of separating races and the action of trying to “reverse” previous trends of discrimination. He also made the comparison when Fisher v. University of Texas was in front of the court. Justice pointed out that if affirmative action and diversity were necessary for a better educational system, it wouldn’t have been possible for people like Martin Luther King Jr. and Booker T. Washington to successfully emerge from predominantly black colleges.

University Practices and SCOTUS Role

Both Harvard and the University of North Carolina are using affirmative action measures to diversify their campuses. The court needs to decide if doing so violates the US Constitution. The justices also need to rule on whether Harvard, in particular, is in line with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, “penalizing Asian American applicants” in the name of rebalancing the student body.

SCOTUSblog described it as “marathon arguments” over the matter. The post referenced a previous case from 2003 on a similar matter. In that case, the court decided the University of Michigan Law School could use race as a deciding factor during admissions.

The justices reportedly argued for a total of five hours about the role race should play, if any, in higher education.

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