Lest any of you (and I doubt there are any) think that the new Supreme Court term would denote a newer less conservative John Roberts, let yesterday dissuade you. In Fischer v. The University of Texas an otherwise non-qualified white prospective student sued over the admission of minorities under an affirmative action program, in arguments:
Joined by several of his fellow Republican appointees, Roberts pressed repeatedly for details on the university’s stated goal of enrolling a “critical mass” of minority students. Justice Samuel Alito said flatly that he didn’t understand what the university meant, and Justice Antonin Scalia voiced repeated skepticism about what he termed “a very ambitious racial program” that tilts the decision among otherwise equal candidates.
I’m sure the merits of this “affirmative action program” were fully and fairly discussed yesterday on at least one of the cable news channels amongst a panel of children of older white conservative pundits and the single African-American panelist who figured out how much you can make in TV if you are a black conservative (good career move Ron Christie).
Do not get your hopes up on this one. The last decision on this area, upheld such programs 5-4, but that was before O’Connor was replaced to Justice “That’s Not True” Alito — plus Justice Kagan had to recuse herself from the case because the Obama Administration supports the University and she was Solicitor General as the case worked itself to the Court.
But there was nearly breaking news yesterday:
[Clarence] Thomas, who is only the second African American justice to serve on the Supreme Court, followed his customary practice of listening in silence. He was the only justice Wednesday not to ask any questions during the often free-wheeling argument, though at one point he turned to whisper in Scalia’s ear.
He almost talked…he…almost…talked.