Today has been a VERY frustrating day for Chief Justice John Roberts, the ghost of Antonin Scalia and the surely not-at-all racist conservatives that have been waiting to deal a killing blow to Affirmative Action. Even with Justice Elena Kagan recusing herself from the case, the Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that allows the University of Texas to use race as one metric to determine admission:
The 4-3 ruling did not address all programs designed to attract a diverse student body at colleges and universities, which the court endorsed twice in 1978 and 2003. But Justice Anthony Kennedy and the court’s more liberal justices said Texas’ unique method of singling out some minority students for admission to its flagship campus in Austin was constitutional.
The decision leaves intact the university’s ability to ensure that minorities are given equal access to higher education. Like they do with all Affirmative Action programs, the right feels it’s completely unfair that a mechanism exists to balance out the institutional racism that has suppressed minorities for generations. The plaintiff in this case, Abigail Fisher, claims she was denied entrance so one of Those People could take “her” spot.
It turned out that her grades weren’t good enough to get in in the first place but Fisher, a fresh-faced strawberry blonde, was the perfect person to be recruited by Edward Blum. Blum is the far right activist that has made a career out of using other people to strike down any law that levels the playing field for minorities. He was instrumental is gutting the Voting Rights Act and would very much like to help Chief Justice Roberts achieve his decades-long goal of striking down Affirmative Action in the United States.
Roberts has been against Affirmative Action since his days as a lawyer for the Reagan administration and he seemed poised to do so with the help of Antonin Scalia who, shortly before he died, shocked the country by citing briefs that suggest African Americans may fare better at “less advanced” or “slower-track” schools, he said, “I don’t think it stands to reason that it’s a good thing for the University of Texas to admit as many blacks as possible.”
But with the unlamented death of the Court’s most bigoted member and the defection of the unpredictable Kennedy, that left just Roberts, Thomas and Alito to rail against the unfairness of treating black people fairly:
Justice Samuel Alito slammed the decision as “affirmative action gone berserk” because it allows the university to seek out African American students with privileged backgrounds over low-income white and Asian students. “It relies on offensive stereotypes,” he said. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Clarence Thomas joined his dissent.
And once Hillary Clinton is elected president, the Court will tilt to the left for a generation or two, making this the right wing’s last shot at ending Affirmative Action for the foreseeable future. Don’t you feel just awful for the poor dears?
Featured image via Mark Wilson/Getty Images