The Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid called Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia “racist” after the justice made controversial comments about African Americans.
Justice Scalia made the controversial comments during an oral argument on affirmative action. The case that the Supreme Court is hearing is Fisher v. Texas, a case that the Court has already heard once before.
The petitioner in the case is Abigail Fisher, who is alleging the University of Texas at Austin discriminated against her based on her race. Ms. Fisher is white, and believes that she was not admitted into UT because of her skin color.
The lawyer representing the University of Texas argued that the removal of race as a factor in college admissions would lead to a diversity problem. He said that the getting rid of a racial factor in college admissions would cause diversity in universities to “plummet.”
“If this Court rules that the University of Texas can’t consider race, or if it rules that universities that consider race have to die a death of a thousand cuts for doing so, we know exactly what’s going to happen.”
Justice Antonin Scalia replied by saying that African Americans are better off at “less-advanced” schools. As the Atlantic reported, Scalia essentially replied by saying “You say that like it’s a bad thing.”
“… those who contend that it does not benefit African Americans to get them into the University of Texas where they do not do well, as opposed to having them go to a less-advanced school — a slower-track school where they do well…”
Scalia continued by alleging that most black scientists don’t come from competitive schools like UT.
“One of the briefs pointed out that most of the black scientists in this country don’t come from schools like the University of Texas. … They come from schools where they do not feel that they’re being pushed ahead in classes that are too fast for them.”
Senate Majority Leader Reid even compared Justice Scalia to Donald Trump. Trump is the current frontrunner in the GOP presidential race. Trump has made several controversial comments, but most recently, the candidate suggested blocking all Muslims from immigrating to the U.S.
Key difference between the ideas endorsed by Trump and Scalia is that Scalia has a robe and a lifetime appointment. https://t.co/y8lJSpRGOO
— Senator Harry Reid (@SenatorReid) December 10, 2015
Harry Reid isn’t the only one that found Scalia’s comments disturbing. His seemingly outright racist remarks reportedly drew audible gasps from the courtroom. Those that found Scalia’s statements offensive may have been misunderstanding him.
Not everyone sees Scalia as being a racist, though. As Michael McGough for the L.A. Times reported, Justice Scalia was merely bringing up the mismatch theory, not giving his opinion. Scalia was likely making a devil’s advocate kind of statement when he made the controversial remarks.
As for Fisher v Texas, the Court appears to be divided on the issue. In 2013, the Supreme Court sent Fisher v Texas back to a lower court, thereby upholding Grutter v. Bollinger, the case that found affirmative action admissions policies are constitutional. A victory for Ms. Fisher would mean the end for the Grutter v. Bollinger decision.
The move to send the case back to lower court shows that the Supreme Court justices are sharply divided on the case, according to CNN. The use of race as a factor in college admissions is already banned in several states. The National Conference of State Legislatures states that Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan, New Hampshire, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Washington all bar race from being used in college admissions.
[Photo by Jacquelyn Martin/Getty Images]