Harry Reid: Justice Scalia's Comments on Affirmative Action Were 'Racist'

Dec 10, 2015

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid called Justice Antonin Scalia "racist" Thursday after comments the Supreme Court justice made during an oral argument on affirmative action.

Scalia drew controversy for a line of questioning he took in the Wednesday oral argument for Fisher v. Texas, a case about affirmative action. Referring to a brief filed in the case, Scalia said in part, "I'm just not impressed by the fact that the University of Texas may have fewer (African-Americans)... Maybe it ought to have fewer."

He also mentioned “those who contend that it does not benefit African Americans to get them into the University of Texas where they do not do well, as opposed to having them go to a less-advanced school — a slower-track school where they do well,” and said, “One of the briefs pointed out that most of the black scientists in this country don’t come from schools like the University of Texas. … They come from schools where they do not feel that they’re being pushed ahead in classes that are too fast for them.”

Speaking on the Senate floor Thursday morning, CNN reports Reid pushed back on the comments, saying, "These ideas that he pronounced yesterday are racist in application, if not intent. I don't know about his intent, but it is deeply disturbing to hear a Supreme Court justice endorse racist ideas from the bench on the nation's highest court. His endorsement of racist theories has frightening ramifications, not the least of which is to undermine the academic achievements of Americans, African-Americans especially."

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