National Conference of Black Lawyers
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New York, NY 10025
AFFIRMATIVE ACTION CASE REFUTES THE LIE THAT WHITE PEOPLE ARE SUPERIOR
JULY 25, 2023
THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF BLACK LAWYERS (NCBL) RECOGNIZES THAT THE U.S. SUPREME COURT’S MAJORITY OPINION IN THE AFFIRMATIVE ACTION CASE REFUTES THE LIE THAT WHITE PEOPLE ARE SUPERIOR
The National Conference of Black Lawyers (NCBL) is both saddened and angered, but not surprised, that the majority of the U.S. Supreme Court held that affirmative action based on race in university admissions is unconstitutional. This Court is now triumphant in its furtherance of a multi-decade white nativist public campaign to deny Black people their fundamental human rights.
Consequently, NCBL joins others in calling out the majority’s opinion, one based in ideology rather than the facts of the cases and an honest and accurate application of the law to those facts. The ideological basis of the decision is clear. The factual record is empty of any finding that an Asian American had been denied admission because of the admission of a Black person who had less qualifications. The majority “sanitizes” the main precedent on which it relies, Brown v. Board of Education, gutting its reliance on race consciousness.
The opinion allows white males to continue to reap the benefits of forced anti-competitiveness and subjugation that they implemented from as early as the 15th Century and seen most vividly in slavery, Jim Crow and its continuing legacies. Clearly, just making racial discrimination illegal has not remedied the benefit whites have received in the United States for the more than 300 years they did not have to compete with Black people for access to educational institutions. The majority is not committed to, nor does it see the need to, even the playing field that was made uneven to the benefit of white people by white-led governments, including the courts.
The majority chose to deliberately deny the truth of centuries of United States violent brutality, economic oppression, and criminal extraction of wealth from Black people, whose unpaid labor built this country and the continuing injury to us that compel immediate remediation.
The Court majority’s assertion that college admissions programs can only consider race merely to allow an applicant to explain their individual experiences with how race has influenced their character in a way that would have a concrete effect on the university. But the very nature of racism, for example, its multitude of microaggressions and hidden systemic features, makes this requirement macabre, cruel, and nearly an impossible burden for the student to manage.
Remember, the equal protection clause emerged in the 19th century fully cognizant of and responsive to the needs of Black people as a group.
The 39th Congress of the United States which adopted the 14th Amendment also enacted the 1866 Freedmen’s Bureau Act. The composition of the congressional majority supporting the Act and the Amendment were virtually the same. Both had identical rationale “the amelioration of the conditions of the Freedmen.” Sufficient evidence exists in the congressional record demonstrating that Congress adopted the 14th Amendment, in part, to provide a constitutional basis for the Freedmen’s Bureau.
"These were among the first acts of race being used for affirmative action remedies for victims of racism in U.S. history". ~ NCBL
The relevant positions raised by Justice Roberts in the majority opinion were actually defeated during the debates in the 1860’s. Only once Reconstruction was defeated, would they arise again resulting in over 100 years of Jim Crow oppression. Now they are once again triumphantly gaining political power in our face.
In Bakke, Thurgood Marshall, the first African American on the Supreme court, foreshadowed these historical developments in his Dissent when he said,
“Reconstruction came to a close, and, with the assistance of this court, the Negro was rapidly stripped, of his new civil rights.” ~ Thurgood Marshall
In the words of C. Vann Woodard “by narrow and ingenious interpretation [the Supreme Court’s] decisions over a period of years had whittled away a great part of the authority presumably given the government for protection of civil rights.”
Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first African American woman on the Supreme Court, along with Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, calls out the majority in the Dissent. Justice Jackson said,
“History speaks. In some form, it can be heard forever. The race-based gaps that first developed centuries ago are echoes from the past that still exist today. By all accounts, they are still stark.” ~ Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson
NCBL will continue to embrace its founding mission to serve as the legal arm of the Movement for Black Liberation. We will continue to work with other groups to demand programs, such as effective affirmative action programs and reparations, that even the playing fields in education and other areas of life.
"Deeming race irrelevant in law does not make it so in life." ~ Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson
Brown v. Board of Education in PBS' The Supreme Court
The Supreme Court's historical rejection of the segregation in Southern schools : Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas
The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to end affirmative action in college admissions has rocked the country and pitted liberal and conservative justices against each other. Award-winning actress Alfre Woodard reads every word of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s scathing dissent where she calls the decision a “tragedy for us all”.