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U.S. Supreme Court

A Long-Time Integration Critic

Posted Jul 9, 2007 11:15 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Justice Clarence Thomas told an interviewer in 1991 that black children don’t necessarily benefit by affirmative action.

“We are not beggars or objects of charity,” he said. “We don’t get smarter just because we sit next to white people in class, and we don’t progress just because society is ready with handouts.”

That viewpoint was reflected in Thomas concurring opinion as he joined with the court’s majority to strike down two school integration plans late last month, according to a New York Times story.

“In reality, it is far from apparent that coerced racial mixing has any educational benefits, much less that integration is necessary to black achievement,” he wrote.

Writing on the same subject in USA Today last week, Tony Mauro contrasted Thomas’ views with those of the court’s prior black justice, Thurgood Marshall. (See this previous ABAJournal.com post.)

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