Justice Clarence Thomas joined in a majority opinion today sending the Supreme Court’s affirmative action case back to a lower court.
But in a concurring opinion on Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, Thomas added his own take, arguing against affirmative action policies and comparing the school’s justifications to those of Jim Crow-era segregationists.
Thomas says that the “University echoes the hollow justifications advanced by the segregationists” and that there “is no principled distinction” between the two.
Here’s a sampling of what Thomas said in today’s opinion:
* “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.”
* “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.”