Justice Thomas Has a Few Things to Say
We shouldn’t leave today’s action at the Supreme Court without taking note of the tantrum thrown by Justice Clarence Thomas in the opinion he wrote in Fisher, the Texas affirmative-action case. It’s not often that you see anyone take this much utter self-loathing out for a walk without it ending up in gunplay or a dive off a bridge.
Finally, while the University admits that racial discrimination in admissions is not ideal, it asserts that it is a temporary necessity because of the enduring race consciousness of our society. Yet again, the University echoes the hollow justifications advanced by the segregationists…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…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. … Indeed, no court today would accept the suggestion that segregation is permissible because historically black colleges produced Booker T. Washington, Thurgood Marshall, Martin Luther King, Jr. and other prominent leaders. Likewise, the University’s racial discrimination cannot be justified on the ground that it will produce better leaders.
This guy is sitting in what used to be Thurgood Marshall’s seat on the court. He’s lucky the chair itself didn’t burst into flame today.
Is it even necessary to point out any more how Thomas has spent his entire career pulling up the ladder behind him? (His tenure as Ronald Reagan’s director of the EEOC is a forgotten masterpiece of I’ve Got Mine, Jack.) He’s only become more vigorous about it since he was installed on the Supreme Court as George H.W. Bush’s own affirmative-action nominee. He spent a lot of time in his book — for which he got a $1.5 million advance — bemoaning the terrible psychological effect affirmative-action had on poor widdle him. He’s a lifetime appointee to the highest court in the land, and he’s still the dogged victim of a world he never made. Segregation and affirmative action are the same thing in that world. If there’s a sadder figure in American politics, I can’t think of one offhand.