A landmark Supreme Court judgment outlawing racial preferences in college admissions included an extraordinary dialogue between two Black justices about the merits of affirmative action. The forceful rebuttals by Justices Clarence Thomas and Ketanji Brown Jackson highlight the considerable disagreements and strong feelings in the United States over the practices. Both sides agreed that the policy alleviated long-standing discrimination and segregation against Black Americans. Still, they arrived at opposite conclusions about how to accomplish that aim.
Justice Jackson and Justice Thomas hail from families of African-Americans affected by Jim Crow and segregation throughout their childhoods. While Thomas received his legal education at Yale, Jackson received his at Harvard Law School. On the other hand, they have very divergent opinions on the value of affirmative action in American culture and how the law should be read. In his concurring opinion, Justice Thomas was quite critical of Justice Jackson, concentrating his criticism on Justice Jackson’s racial convictions and the liberal support for affirmative action in general.
Jackson’s opinion on the verdict: Ostrich-Like
Jackson, who was appointed to his position by Democratic President Joe Biden the previous year, slammed the choice as being “ostrich-like” and said that it would “make things even worse” rather than better. Jackson maintained that we could only move towards realizing the promise of true equality for all Americans if we all stare race in the eye, do what the statistics and experts indicate needs to be done to level the playing field, and work together. Jackson pointed out that it is ironic that the choice made by the majority today will make it more difficult to establish the colorblind society that the majority strongly advocates, so postponing the end of racial inequity in the United States.
Jackson investigated the history of discrimination that has persisted from the time of slavery until the present day, hindering African Americans’ economic and social growth and restricting their access to educational and vocational opportunities. When comparing white and black families, Jackson noted that the former had an average of eight times as much money. According to Jackson, 52, the decision made by the majority would make racial gaps in education worse and delay the day when all children in the United States would have the same opportunity to be successful.
Justice Thomas, now 75 years old and has served on the court since 1991, recently upheld the concept of color blindness, which maintains that discrimination against minorities is always unlawful. The vast portion of Thomas’s piece on Thursday was written with Jackson in mind. Thomas claimed that as far as she is concerned, the original sin of slavery and the historical enslavement of black Americans in the United States still plays a role in the lives of black people in the United States today. Thomas claims her approach is to “blindly accept the view of elite experts” and “reallocate society’s riches by racial means as necessary to ‘level the playing field,'” both based on racial considerations. Thomas pointed out that individuals are more than the color of their skin, even in the segregated South where he grew up. Even in this day and age, racial disparities are not necessarily to blame for unequal treatment.
Jackson refuted Thomas’s criticism in a footnote to her disapproving opinion, arguing that Thomas had misunderstood her stance. She did this by using her stance as an example. According to Jackson, Justice Thomas had fuelled too many straw men to count or put out completely. Jackson continued, stating that Thomas also refuses to confront the “elephant in the room,” which is the fact that racial disparities continue to stand in the way of prosperity for many Americans.
Thomas: A fifteen-cent law degree
A lifelong opponent of affirmative action, Thomas has been one of the court’s most outspoken critics of the practice during his tenure on the court. He openly admits that he got into Yale with affirmative action. Still, he believes that the negative connotations of such favoritism prevented him from getting a job when he graduated. Thomas recounts in his book, “My Grandfather’s Son,” that he was “tricked” by Whites at Yale who behaved paternally towards Black kids during the recruiting process. He says this happened while he was there. The black University of Michigan law school student I met at a gathering following my Yale graduation told me he hadn’t included his race on his application. He expressed his disappointment by adding, “I wish with all my heart that I had done the same.”
According to what Thomas wrote, a Yale Law School credential meant something different for black graduates than it did for white graduates, regardless of what other people had to say about the topic. I wanted to stress how dissatisfied I was with my choice to attend Yale Law School, so I fastened the price label from a pack of cigars, which was fifteen cents, to the mat that was around my diploma. He authored a dissenting opinion in the case Grutter v. Bollinger, which was heard in 2003 and permitted some consideration of race in the university admissions process. In his dissenting opinion, he said that black people could be successful in all aspects of American society, even without the involvement of university authorities.
Affirmative action divides two Black Supreme Court Justices
It was hoped that Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman to serve on the United States Supreme Court, would bring a viewpoint on racial issues distinct from that of the only other Black member of the Court, the conservative Justice Clarence Thomas. This issue was front and center as the two justices publicly fought in furiously worded, dueling opinions on Thursday when the Supreme Court handed down a historic decision that effectively ended affirmative action practices, in which schools and universities consider race a factor in student admissions. The ruling was a watershed since it virtually terminated practices in which schools and universities consider race a factor in student admissions. Many educational institutions have applied this tactic for many years to increase the percentage of students who identify as Black or Hispanic.
The vast disparity between Jackson’s and Thomas’s perspectives on how race should be dealt with in the legal system reflects American culture as a whole. Jackson argued for its introduction to reduce inequalities that had persisted for a long time. Thomas maintained that the Constitution of the United States did not support any one racial group. In an opinion concurring with the ruling, Thomas said that Jackson’s “race-infused worldview falls flat at each step.” Thomas stated that Jackson’s vision of “racial determinism” is limited and misses the complexity of the lives of each person.
Justice Jackson responded angrily to Justice Thomas, who she felt had misunderstood the reasoning for her support for the project and even invented her position. She referred to the “pink elephant paradox,” which claims that concentrating on a subject makes it more difficult to move on. The result is the classic “pink elephant” problem, in which people who demand that no one thinks about race are oblivious to the racial disadvantages that continue to hold back our great nation from realizing its full potential.