Email Ken Stallings   A Blow Against Racism

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In its landmark ruling, Students for Fair Admissions v President and Fellows of Harvard College & University of North Carolina, the US Supreme Court struck one of the strongest blows in American history against racism, and perhaps the strongest judicial blow ever.  For decades, college and university admissions started making race a prime criteria in selection, destroying merit and rewarding skin color as a prime consideration.  The situation metastasized until it reached an absurd situation where one minority group, Asians, had to score about 230% higher grades and admissions test scores to have the same chance of selection as black student applicants.

There was no other cause for this except institutional racism, pure discrimination on the basis of skin color.  Yet, despite knowing this, the system was allowed to continue.  A prime reason why this week marked the end of this discriminatory practice is that Justice Clarence Thomas made what is sure to become his greatest legacy ruling for the majority opinion, where he laid bare the evil of what he rightly termed, "government imposed racism."  In his writing, Justice Thomas did far more than merely reiterate the mandate of "full compliance," but also the intent of the "fundamental principle that racial discrimination in public education is unconstitutional."  Thomas also fired a powerful broadside into the latest arguments from the leftists in today's society who clamor for what can only be described as wanting perpetual racism as a tool to correct injustices from generations past.  Among the many salient statements, Thomas had these pearls of wisdom:

"Two discriminatory wrongs cannot make a right.  All citizens of the United States, regardless of skin color, are equal before the law.  The text of the (Civil Rights Act of 1866) left no doubt as to its aim:  All persons born in the United States were equal citizens entitled to the same rights and subject to the same penalties as white citizens in the categories enumerated.  It's rule was decidedly colorblind, safeguarding legal equality for all citizens of 'every race and color' and providing the same rights to all."

His luminary opinion went much further, as it directly destroyed the tortured logic of those still clinging to so-called affirmative action and racial quotas, saying:

"In an effort to salvage their patently unconstitutional programs, the universities and their amici pivot to argue that the Fourteenth Amendment permits the use of race to benefit only certain racial groups -- rather than applicants writ large.  Yet, this is the just the latest disguise for discrimination.  The sudden narrative shift is not surprising, as it has long been apparent that 'diversity was merely the current rationale of convenience' to support racially discriminatory admissions programs."

Thomas furthers his assault on the racism of the left, striking a sharp distinction between rightly correcting actual injustice vice promoting racism as a remedy:

"Indeed, our precedents have repeatedly and soundly distinguished between programs designed to compensate victims of past governmental disrcimination.  Today's opinion for the Court reaffirms the need for such a close remedial fit, hewing to the same line we have consistently drawn.  Without such guardrails, the Fourteenth Amendment would become self-defeating, promising a Nation based on the equality ideal but yielding a quota and caste ridden society steeped in race-based discrimination."

"A core purpose of the Fourteenth Amendment was to do away with all governmentally imposed discrimination based on race.  The Court today enforces those limits.  And rightly so.  Both Harvard and UNC have a history of racial discrimination.  But, neither have even attempted to explain how their current racially discriminatory programs are even remotely traceable to their past discriminatory conduct.  The Constitution neither commands nor permits such a result.  'Purchased at the price of immeasurable human suffering,' the Fourteenth Amendment recognizes that classifications based on race lead to ruinous consequences for individuals and the Nation."

"There is no reason to continue down that path.  In the wake of the Civil War, the Framers of the Fourteenth Amendment charted a way out:  a colorblind Constitution that requires the government to, at long last, put aside its citizens' skin color and focus on their individual achievements." -- Justice Clarence Thomas

Justice Thomas did not relent in his crusade to lay bare the evil and twisted logic of the promoters of affirmative action and racial quotas.  His opinion went deep into the heart of the evil as well as into its lack of morality and integrity.  

"The Constitution's colorblind rule reflects one of the core principles upon which our Nation was founded: that "all men are created equal."  As discussed above, the Fourteenth Amendment reflected that vision, affirming that equality and racial discrimination cannot coexist.  Under that Amendment, the color of a person's skin is irrelevant to that individual's equal status as a citizen of this Nation."

He continued:

"Respondents and the dissents argue that the universities' race-conscious admissions programs ought to be permitted because they accomplish positive social goals.  I would have thought that history had by now taught a 'great humility' when attempting to 'disguish good from harmful uses of racial criteria.'  From Black Codes, to discriminatory and destructive social welfare programs, to discrimination by individual government actors, bigotry has reared its ugly head time and again.  Anyone who today thinks that some form of racial discrimination will prove 'helpful' should thus tread cautiously, lest racial discriminators succeed in using such language to disguise more invidious motives."

In terms of what may rightly be used to stratify admissions in terms of social or economic disadvantages overcome by a student's hard work and determination, Thomas does more than merely highlight that reality, he asserts it is the only criteria for stratification that passes logical and moral hurdles:

"Yet, in the face of those problems, it seems increasingly clear that universities are focused on 'aesthetic' solutions unlikely to help deserving members of minority groups.  In fact, universities' affirmative action programs are a particularly poor use of such resources.  To start, these programs are overinclusive, providing the same admissions bump to a wealthy black applicant given every advantage in life as to a black applicant from a poor family with seemingly insurmountable barriers to overcome.  In doing so, the programs may wind up helping the most well-off members of minority races without meaninfully assisting those who struggle with real hardship."

Thomas then gets into the heart of the problem with affirmative action, harming the innocent to innoculate those who conspired to deny fair opportunity in the past:

"Today's 17-year-olds, after all, did not live through the Jim Crow era, enact or enforce segregation laws, or take any action to oppress or enslave the victims of the past.  Whatever their skin color, today's youth are not responsible for instituting the segregation of the 20th century, and they do not shoulder the moral debts of their ancestors.  Our Nation should not punish today's youth for the sins of the past."

"In fact, recent history reveals a disturbing pattern:  Affirmative action policies appear to have prolonged the asserted need for racial discrimination.  Parties and amici in these cases report that, in the nearly 50 years since Bakke, 438 US Code 265, racial progress on campuses adopting affirmative action admissions policies has stagnated, including making no meaninful progress toward a colorblind goal since Grutter.  Rather, the legacy of Grutter appears to be ever increasing and strident demands for yet more racially oriented solutions."

"What, then, would be the endpoint of these affirmative action policies?  Not racial harmony, integration, or equality under the law. Rather, these policies appear to be leading to a world in which everyone is defined by their skin color, demanding ever-increasing entitlements and preferences on that basis.  Not only is that exactly the kind of factionalism that the Constitution was meant to safeguard against, but it is a factionalism based on ever-shifting sands.  That is because race is a social construct; we may each identify as members of a particular race for any number of reasons, having to do with our skin color, or heritage, or our cultural identity.  And, over time, these ephemeral, socially constructed categories have often shifted."

"Under our Constitution, race is irrelevant, as the Court acknowledges.  In fact, all racial categories are little more than stereotypes, suggesting that immutable characteristics somehow conclusively determine a person's ideology, beliefs, and abilities.  Of course, that is false.  Rather than forming a more pluralistic society, these policies strip us of our individuality and undermine the very diversity of thought that universities purport to seek."

"The solution to our Nation's racial problems thus cannot come from policies grounded in affirmative action or some other conception of equity.  Racialism simply cannot be undone by different or more racialism.  Instead the solution announced in the second founding is incorporated in our Constitution: that we are equal, and should be treated equally before the law without regard to our race.  With the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment, the people of our Nation proclaimed that the law may not sort citizens based on race.  It is this principle that the Framers of the Fourteenth Amendment adopted in the wake of the Civil War to fulfill the promise of equality under the law."

Thomas concludes his opinion with this searing truth, that the left's vision of "an organizing principle based on race" is a "lore," saying:

"This lore is not and has never been true.  Even in the segregated South where I grew up, individuals were not the sum of their skin color.  Then as now, not all disparities are based on race; not all people are racist; and not all differences between individuals are ascribable to race.  Put simply, 'the fate of abstract categories of wealth statistics is not the same as the fate of a given set of flesh-and-blood human beings'.  Worse still, Justice Jackson uses her broad observations about statistical relationships between race and selection measures of health, wealth, and well-being to label all blacks as victims.  Her desire to do so is unfathomable to me.  I cannot deny the great accomplishments of black Americans, including those who succeeded despite long odds."

"There is no reason to continue down that path.  In the wake of the Civil War, the Framers of the Fourteenth Amendment charted a way out:  a colorblind Constitution that requires the government to, at long last, put aside its citizens' skin color and focus on their individual achievements."

Justice Clarence Thomas authored an opinion that will live for generations, as a lasting legacy of true integrity, legal acumen, and enduring justice.  In his majority ruling, Justice Thomas has done much to help America live up to its creed that indeed, "all men are created equal," and in doing so, Thomas has helped America to become a better nation, more worthy of being exceptional as a beacon of justice and equality under the law.

-- Ken Stallings

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