Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is under fire for remarks he made during a court hearing of a case regarding affirmative action in decisions made by colleges and universities. The case was brought against the University of Texas, one of the states’ premiere universities.
“Most of the black scientists in this country don’t come from schools like the University of Texas. They come from lesser schools where they do not feel that they’re being pushed ahead in classes that are too fast for them,” Scalia said during the proceedings.
While he claimed that he was referencing findings in a brief submitted for the case, his comments offended many inside and outside of the court room.
“If I listened to Scalia I never would have applied to and graduated from two Ivy League schools. This level of ignorance is dangerous,” Vanessa K. De Luca, editor-in-chief of Essence magazine, posted on Twitter.
Scalia’s comments appear to suggest that black students attending elite schools do not meet the qualifications to be at these institutions.
The case against the University of Texas was brought by former student Abigail Fisher. Fisher argued that she was not admitted to University of Texas because administrators took race into consideration. She alleged that less qualified minority students were accepted instead of her.
“Like most Americans, I don’t believe students should be treated differently based on their race,” Fisher said.
A brief submitted by lawyers on behalf of the university suggests that Fisher may still not have gotten into the school even if race were not a consideration.
Fisher ended up attending Louisiana State University and graduated in 2012, so though the case will not change her admission status, it could have far-reaching impact for higher education in the United States.
While the University of Texas maintains that diversity in schools is important, Scalia asked, “What unique perspective does a minority student bring to a physics class?”
Justice Elena Kagan recused herself from the case leaving the case to be decided by the remaining eight justices.
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