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Reid Lashes Out at 'Stunning' Scalia on Senate Floor

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Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said on the floor of the upper chamber today that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is just Donald Trump with a robe and a lifetime appointment to the bench.

Scalia was the target of Dems on Capitol Hill and the White House today for his Wednesday comments in an affirmative action case.

“There are those who contend that it does not benefit African-Americans to get them into the University of Texas where they do not do well, as opposed to having them go to a less-advanced school, a less — a slower-track school where they do well. One of the briefs pointed out that most of the black scientists in this country don’t come from schools like the University of Texas,” Scalia said.

“They come from lesser schools where they do not feel that they’re being pushed ahead in classes that are too fast for them,” the justice continued. “I’m just not impressed by the fact that the University of Texas may have fewer. Maybe it ought to have fewer. And maybe some — you know, when you take more, the number of blacks, really competent blacks, admitted to lesser schools, turns out to be less.”

Gregory G. Garre, attorney for the University of Texas, which is defending the use of race in admissions in Fisher v. Texas, told Scalia, “I don’t think the solution to the problems with student body diversity can be to set up a system in which not only are minorities going to separate schools, they’re going to inferior schools.”

Reid said it was “stunning, a man of this intellect,” referring to Scalia, said what he did.

“These ideas are racist in application if not intent. I cannot speak to Justice Scalia’s intent. But it is deeply disturbing to hear a Supreme Court justice endorse racist ideas from the bench of the nation’s highest court,” the top Senate Dem said. “Scalia’s endorsement of racist theories has frightening ramifications, not the least of which is to undermine the academic achievements of African Americans.”

“…The only difference between the ideas endorsed by Trump and Scalia is that Scalia has a robe and a lifetime appointment. Ideas like this don’t belong on the Internet, let alone the mouths of national figures.”

Reid called “the idea that African American students are somehow inherently intellectually inferior to other students …despicable” and “a throwback to a time that America left behind half a century ago.”

“That Justice Scalia could raise such an uninformed idea, shows just how out of touch he is with the values of this nation. It goes without saying that an African American student has the same potential to succeed in an academically challenging environment as any other student,” he said. “I firmly believe that the United States of America is the greatest nation in the world because of our ability to embrace men and women of diverse backgrounds and provide them with the opportunity to succeed.”

At the White House today, press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters that Scalia’s comments “represent quite a different view than the priorities and values that President Obama has spent his career talking about.”