Thomas: Affirmative action is unconstitutional, despite the buzz

Justice Clarence Thomas said yesterday that racial preference programs cannot be constitutionally justified.

In a address to leaders of historically black colleges and universities, Thomas said that the term “affirmative action” has become popular “buzz words.” But the popularity of its use doesn’t cure it’s constitutional defect.

“[Affirmative action] “has become this mantra and there almost has become this secular religiosity about it,” Thomas said in a speech at Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va. “I think it almost trumps thinking.”

Thomas, who is a vocal opponent of using race-based criteria in school and job placement, continued: “Just from a constitutional standpoint, I think we’re going to run into problems if we say the Constitution says we can consider race sometimes. . . My suggestion would be to stop the buzz words and to focus more on the practical effect of what we’re doing.”


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