Dartmouth's Daily Blog
News, commentary, criticism and praise for the College on the Hill, enlivened with history, culture and travel when we feel so moved.
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Clarence Thomas Remembers
Justice Clarence Thomas’ self-effacing memoir takes him from his origins in Pinpoint, Georgia to his confirmation for a seat on the Supreme Court of the United States. He denies even the slightest banter with Anita Hill, whom he describes as duplicitously evolving from an abrasive and ambitious colleague to a put-upon, falsely innocent victim in order to derail his nomination.
The 2007 book is particularly noteworthy for Thomas’ views on affirmative action as they will impact upcoming deliberations on the progeny of the Fisher case. In that decision, the Court raised the level of judicial scrutiny that diversity programs must meet in order to pass constitutional muster. Future cases will require a fully worked up set of facts to show that affirmative action programs employing race actually achieve their aims; the courts will no longer defer to assertions of effectiveness by colleges and universities. In the book, Thomas repeatedly observes instances of students of color being admitted to schools that are far too demanding of them given their level of preparation, and how such programs ill-serve both students and historically black institutions, where students of lesser preparation are far more likely to meet their goals, especially in STEM fields.
Longtime readers of this space will note that Thomas’ views, born of his lived experience, pre-date the publication of Mismatch, Stuart Taylor and Richard Saunders’ 2012 work that summarizes the research into the negative effects of preferential admissions programs for minorities and other groups. Mismatch points out that the initial observation of the phenomenon, and the first rigorous social science analysis of it, took place at the College in the work of Psychology and Brain Sciences Professor Rogers Elliot.
Addendum: My best source in the legal world, a former Supreme Court clerk with decidedly left-of-center political leanings, opines that Thomas has been a fine justice. He pointedly comments that anyone disparaging Thomas’ legal skills either knows nothing about the law or is motivated by political or racial animus.
Addendum: Another rap on Thomas is that he votes in lockstep with Justice Antonin Scalia. “Non è vero!”, as feisty Scalia might exclaim. In fact, the liberal justices tend to stick together more frequently than Scalia and Thomas, even in 5-4 cases, as SCOTUSblog’s stats show:
August 14, 2013
Breaking: Of Crips and Bloods and Memories of Ghetto Parties
History repeats itself, first as tragedy and then as farce, or sometimes it just repeats itself. From the New York Times on November 30, 1998: At Dartmouth College, white students at a ”ghetto party” dressed…
June 25, 2013
Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson’s War on Students Part (2/2)
Part 1, Part 2 Today’s post again recounts the events that befell the Freshman. However, the content of the Hanover Police department report reproduced in this space yesterday is supplemented by information from my own…
October 18, 2009
When Love Beckoned in 52nd Street
We were at San Francisco’s BIX last evening, enjoying prosecco, cheese, and a bit of music. A full year of inhabitation in Northern California has unraveled to me no decent venue for proper lounging, but…
October 9, 2009
D Afraid of a Little Competish
So our colleague and Dartblog writer Joe Asch informed me that the D has rejected our cunning advertising campaign. Uh-oh. The Dartmouth is widely known as a breeding ground for instant New York Times successes,…
September 4, 2009
How Regents Should Reign
As Dartmouth alumni proceed through the legal hoops necessary to defuse a Board-packing plan—which put in unhappy desuetude an historic 1891 Agreement between alumni and the College guaranteeing a half-democratically-elected Board of Trustees—it strikes one…
August 29, 2009
Election Reform Study Committee
If you are an alum of the College on the Hill, you may have received a number of e-mails of late beseeching your input for a new arm of the College’s Alumni Control Apparatus called…
- The Dartmouth College Case
- 2007 Trustee Election
- Dartmouth Constitution
- Sunday Morning Sinatra
- The Indian Wars
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