Justice Thomas Under Fire for Refuting Historic SCOTUS Decision

(USNewsMag.com) – Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is under fire for his May 23rd rebuke of Brown v. Board of Education ruling, which made racial segregation illegal in schools.

The 9-0 Brown v. Board of Education ruling helped kickstart the Civil Rights Movement, declaring “separate but equal” unconstitutional. Thomas replaced the first black Supreme Court Justice and the lead lawyer in the Brown case, Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, in 1991.

In his May 23rd concurrence opinion that lets South Carolina keep using its existing congressional maps, Thomas wrote that in 1955, the Supreme Court had a “boundless view of equitable remedies” to instructing schools on complying with the Supreme Court’s initial 1954 decision. Thomas wrote that while the temporary measures might have helped overcome the widespread resistance, Thomas, they were not backed up by the Constitution. He noted that the remedies were achieved by “extravagant uses of judicial power.” Thomas wrote that federal courts do not have “the flexible power to invent whatever new remedies” they deem “useful at the time.”

In the Supreme Court’s conservative majority dismissal of a civil rights group’s challenge of a South Carolina district it felt limited the influence of black voters, Thomas argued that means the courts should not play a role in whether congressional maps discriminate against black people, arguing that like Brown, the courts do not have the constitutional authority to get involved. He noted that politicians, and not federal judges, are responsible for “drawing political districts,” and analyzing the “maps for evidence of racial bias” is “demeaning to the courts asked to perform it.”

This is not the first time Thomas has made this point in a concurring opinion. In 1995, he wrote that the Supreme Court used “extraordinary remedial measures,” which were implemented because of the court’s impatience with the speed at which schools were being desegregated, and schools’ lack of good-faith effort, should have been used temporarily and only to overcome the widespread resistance.

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