In a fiery concurring opinion Monday, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said the University of Texas at Austin’s admissions policy amounted to discrimination and compared the school’s affirmative action program to slavery and segregation.
“Slaveholders argued that slavery was a ‘positive good’ that civilized blacks and elevated them in every dimension of life,” Thomas wrote in his separate opinion on Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin. “A century later, segregationists similarly asserted that segregation was not only benign, but good for black students.”
Thomas cited Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark 1954 Supreme Court case that led to the desegregation of public schools, in drawing a comparison between segregation and affirmative action.
“Following in these inauspicious footsteps, the University would have us believe that its discrimination is likewise benign. I think the lesson of history is clear enough: Racial discrimination is never benign,” he wrote in the 20-page opinion. “The University’s professed good intentions cannot excuse its outright racial discrimination any more than such intentions justified the now-denounced arguments of slaveholders and segregationists.”
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