The historic ruling by the Supreme Court that struck down the university affirmative action policy of using race as a factor in their admissions process has been lauded by conservative circles as welcome news. Among liberal media outlets, a different view has been proffered – one of doom and gloom. A meltdown by guests and hosts alike has been evident for all to see.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) president, Derrick Johnson, appeared before MSNBC to deride the decision and took particular aim at Justice Clarence Thomas, who is black. Johnson funnily enough claimed that “the worst thing about affirmative action is that it created a Clarence Thomas.” Johnson further remarked that Thomas “benefited from the program and now is in a position where he is going to deny many young African American talented individuals an opportunity.”
“The worst thing about affirmative action is that it created a Clarence Thomas.”
— NAACP President Derrick Johnson hammers the U.S. Supreme Court effectively ending affirmative action in college admissions pic.twitter.com/jECJBqrxZ5
— The Recount (@therecount) June 29, 2023
In Thomas’s opinion on the decision to overturn race-based preferences in the application process, he wrote, “The Constitution continues to embody a simple truth: Two discriminatory wrongs cannot make a right…I write separately to offer an originalist defense of the colorblind Constitution; to explain further the flaws of the Court’s Grutter jurisprudence; to clarify that all forms of discrimination based on race—including so-called affirmative action—are prohibited under the Constitution; and to emphasize the pernicious effects of all such discrimination”
The Chief Justice, John Roberts, affirmed this view in the majority opinion when he wrote that “[a] benefit to a student who overcame racial discrimination, for example, must be tied to that student’s courage and determination…In other words, the student must be treated based on his or her experiences as an individual—not on the basis of race.”
In other words, just because race was a factor that authorities used to discriminate against you in the past does not mean they get to use the same factor to discriminate in your favor in the present.
The meltdown on MSNBC was not confined to NAACP President Johnson alone. A legal analyst for the network, Catherine Christian said, “I fear what will happen. Will there be many lawyers who look like Charles and I in the future? Or doctors? Or accountants? It is a problem. It [affirmative action] is not preferential treatment.” She also claimed in the same stream of thought that what she, a black woman, and Charles, a black man, on the air bring to the conversation was based on their race.
MSNBC legal analyst @cchristian_LA on SCOTUS outlawing racial discrimination in college admissions: "I fear what will happen. Will there by many lawyers who look like Charles and I in the future? Or doctors? Or accountants? It is a problem. It is not preferential treatment." pic.twitter.com/dU2htDKIaf
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) June 29, 2023
Whether the greatest fault of affirmative action was, as liberals contend, the placement of Clarence Thomas as a Supreme Court justice, or, as conservatives argue, that it created a race-based selection system, it surely was against the clear wording of the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment and undermined a colorblind society.