Thomas: Race Only a Concern in Preventing 'Anarchy'
Plus, reaction to affirmative action ruling
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Jun 24, 2013 1:44 PM CDT
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas addresses the audience during a program at the Duquesne University School of Law, April 9, 2013, in Pittsburgh.   (AP Photo/Tribune Review, Sidney Davis)

(Newser) – The Supreme Court didn't outlaw affirmative action with today's 7-1 ruling—but Clarence Thomas thinks it should have. "There is no principled distinction between the University's assertion that diversity yields educational benefits, and segregationists' assertion that segregation yielded those same benefits," Thomas wrote in his concurring opinion. He went on, according to NPR, to argue that the government should only consider race when it was necessary "to provide a bulwark against anarchy, or to prevent violence."

The court didn't go that far, and a whole lot of the commentary around the court's decision involves the word "punted." Here's what people are saying:

  • "The naïve conceit sustaining the court's inaction is the hope that, sooner or later, the consequences of decades of racial discrimination will be all but undetectable," writes Brian Dickerson at the Detroit Free Press. "But that day still seems a long way off," and the central question remains. "One of these days, justices are going to have to give us a straight answer."
  • "Yes, it's a cop-out," agrees Sally Kohn at Salon, but she's OK with it. "If there's one thing to take away," it's that "the court still believes that promoting racial diversity in higher education is a 'compelling interest.'"
  • But Elie Mystal at Above the Law sees the ruling very differently. "This is, I think, the end of affirmative action as a tool for 'racial equality,'" though not for "racial diversity," he writes. There's clearly a majority of justices "that want, almost desperately, to end racial preference in college admissions," and they're "just no longer buying the old reasons for affirmative action."

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Jul 7, 2013 10:25 PM CDT
Thomas stated that affimative action makes black people appear to be unequal to whites. I agree.
Jun 25, 2013 10:44 AM CDT
You always hear about the magnanimous and incalcuable "educational" benefits of racial diversity, but evidence to the contrary is globally abundant. The top 3 countries leading in education are Finland, South Korea, Hong Kong. The corresponding demographics per CIA Factbook: Finland:93.4% Finnish (the remaining 6.6% is essentially Swedish and eastern Euro) South Korea: 100% homogeneous (except for about 20,000 Chinese) Hong Kong: 93.6% Chinese, 2% Filipino, 2% Indonesian, 2.4% remainder other Compared to US ranking of 17 and US demographics of :(ubiquitous) White 79.96% (of which as much as 15.1% can be considered Latino), Black 12.85%, Asian 4.43%, etc... In light of these facts it is clearly too inconvenient for the AA supporters to discuss the baseless supposition that "diversity" leads to educational benefits in the classroom. All that diversity in Finland/South Korea/Hong Kong/Japan must be what's giving them the edge.
Jun 25, 2013 10:07 AM CDT
Justice Thomas' statement is outrageous. Here it is in his own words: "There is no principled distinction between the University's assertion that diversity yields educational benefits, and segregationists' assertion that segregation yielded those same benefits." In other words, he feels that while segregation prior to Brown v. Board of Education did not yield educational benefits for everyone (clearly correct), he also says that the diversity that came from affirmative action and other civil rights programs also did not provide education benefits for everyone. His "colorblind" philosophy is pure idiocy... and he himself was a benefit of affirmative action. His stupidity (there's no other word for it) is not an indictment of these programs, it's an example of an arrogant man who could care less about anybody else. He is a disgrace.