US Associate Justice of the Supreme Cour

Yesterday, the  Supreme Court upheld Michigan’s ban on affirmative action but it’s the  blistering dissent from Justice Sonia Sotomayor that’s getting everyone’s attention.

In the 58-page dissent, Sotomayor directly took on Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr’s view that the nation’s continued reliance on racial classifications hinders rather than promotes the goal of a color-blind society. She accused her colleagues  of trying to “wish away” racial inequality

Sotomayor noted Roberts’s famous statement in a 2007 opinion that “the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”

“This refusal to accept the stark reality that race matters is regrettable,” Sotomayor wrote. “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to speak openly and candidly on the subject of race, and to apply the Constitution with eyes open to the unfortunate effects of centuries of racial discrimination.”

She added: “As members of the judiciary tasked with intervening to carryout the guarantee of equal protection, we ought not sit back and wish away, rather than confront, the racial inequality that exists in our society.”

“But one thing has not changed: to doubt the worth of minority students’ achievement when they succeed is really only to present another face of the prejudice that would deny them a chance even to try,” she wrote.

Read Sotomayor’s full dissent here.

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