Best 15 Quotes from Thomas' Harvard Concurring Opinion


Associate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas speaks at the Heritage Foundation on October 21, 2021 in Washington, DC.
(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)


The Supreme Court made a landmark ruling in the case of Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard College, deeming the “affirmative action” policies implemented by Harvard and the University of North Carolina to be in violation of the 14th Amendment and its application via the Civil Rights Act.

The ruling contends that policies based on racial discrimination without a compelling public interest are inconsistent with the founding principles of equal rights for every American. Justice Clarence Thomas concurred with the majority opinion and expressed his strong opposition to institutionalized racial discrimination in America.

Justice Thomas, who signed onto the majority opinion authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, penned a near 60-page concurrence, stressing the perils of racial discrimination. Here are 15 significant quotes from his concurrence:

Key Quotes from Justice Thomas

  1. “Two discriminatory wrongs cannot make a right.”
  2. “Universities’ self-proclaimed righteousness does not afford them license to discriminate on the basis of race.”
  3. “Without such guardrails, the Fourteenth Amendment would become self-defeating, promising a Nation based on the equality ideal but yielding a quota- and caste-ridden society steeped in race-based discrimination.”
  4. “Harvard and UNC now forthrightly state that they racially discriminate when it comes to admitting students, [and] defend that discrimination as good.”
  5. “Anyone who today thinks that some form of racial discrimination will prove “helpful” should thus tread cautiously, lest racial discriminators succeed (as they once did) in using such language to disguise more invidious motives.”
  6. “[I]t is not even theoretically possible to “help” a certain racial group without causing harm to members of other racial groups.”
  7. “Whatever their skin color, today’s youth simply are not responsible for instituting the segregation of the 20th century, and they do not shoulder the moral debts of their ancestors.”
  8. “[S]orting by race … increasingly encourage[s] our Nation’s youth to view racial differences as important and segregation as routine.”
  9. “Not racial harmony, integration, or equality under the law. Rather, these policies appear to be leading to a world in which everyone is defined by their skin color, demanding ever-increasing entitlements and preferences on that basis.”
  10. “Racialism simply cannot be undone by different or more racialism.”
  11. “Individuals are the sum of their unique experiences, challenges, and accomplishments.”
  12. “History has taught us to abhor theories that call for elites to pick racial winners and losers in the name of sociological experimentation.” He argues against elites choosing “racial winners and losers.”
  13. “This vision of meeting social racism with government-imposed racism is thus self-defeating, resulting in a never-ending cycle of victimization.”
  14. “[M]eritocratic systems have long refuted bigoted misperceptions of what black students can accomplish.” He advocates for meritocracy as a “great equalizer.”
  15. “We should not repeat this mistake merely because we think, as our predecessors thought, that the present arrangements are superior to the Constitution.”


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