Thomas Delivers Knockout Line When Hearing Pro-Affirmative Action Claim


The use of affirmative action in college admissions could soon take a blow in the Supreme Court.

Justice Clarence Thomas suggested his dislike of the practice during the court’s Monday oral arguments, in which justices heard two separate cases litigated by Students for Fair Admissions against the University of North Carolina and Harvard.

Thomas compared arguments used in defense of affirmative action to those used for segregation, in remarks that were both recorded and documented in Supreme Court transcripts.

North Carolina Solicitor General Ryan Y. Park sought to convince the court of the value of affirmative action, claiming that its use resulted in “diverse” groups of people performing at a higher level.

The practice in college admissions entails giving selective, favorable treatment to students of one race or characteristic, with the hopes of balancing the demographics of an institution’s student body.

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Thomas scrutinized what the state considers “diversity,” noting that the word “seems to mean everything for everyone.” He asked York for a specific definition and to explain how what he described benefited the University of North Carolina.

York said the state uses the definition of the word used in Supreme Court precedents, describing it as “a broadly diverse set of criteria that extends to all different backgrounds and perspectives and not solely limited to race.”

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As to its benefits, he claimed studies have shown that “racially diverse groups” make more efficient decisions.

“And the mechanism there is that it reduces group think and people have longer and more sustained disagreement, and that leads to a more efficient outcome,” he said.

Thomas wasn’t having it, and delivered a brutal line on the argument:

“Well, I guess I don’t put much stock in that because I’ve heard similar arguments in favor of segregation, too,” he said.

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Thomas’ scrutiny of the defense arguments could indicate that the court plans to determine that affirmative action as practiced by America’s elite universities violates the Civil Rights Act.

Barring the consideration of race in college admissions could dramatically change the demographics of the student body at elite colleges such as Harvard.

Such a ruling would be a dramatic overthrow of precedent, only surpassed in significance by the June ruling doing away with the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

Thomas’ opposition to affirmative action is not new — and only one of the traits that have made him a target of liberal attacks for the past three decades.

In 2003, he issued a scathing dissent in the 2003 Grutter v. Bollinger case — a Supreme Court decision that decided affirmative action didn’t violate the 14th Amendment.

Thomas accused the University of Michigan of granting “exemptions to favored races.”

In the 2016 Fisher v. University of Texas case, according to TheBlaze, Thomas also compared the arguments for affirmative action to those in favor of segregation.

Since those decisions, Thomas clearly hasn’t changed, but the court’s makeup has.

With the addition of Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett joining Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Samuel Alito and Thomas, it’s possible that affirmative action is getting lined up to be struck down by the conservative majority.

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