Civil rights lawyer Shanta Driver accused the Supreme Court of issuing a “racist decision that takes us back to an era of states rights” — prompting a furious backlash from anti-affirmative action activist Jennifer Gratz, who accused Driver of “name-calling” and suggested she is the one obsessed with race.
Gratz — former plaintiff in the landmark 2003 Supreme Court case Gratz v. Bollinger, which declared affirmative action systems based on points unconstitutional — appeared on “Fox News Sunday” along with Driver, a lawyer who helped argue the recent case on Michigan’s affirmative action ban.
Driver rejected the argument by liberal Justice Steven Breyer that the Constitution does not require affirmative action, and that local voters may ban it if they so choose.
“White voters are an overwhelming majority of Michigan voters,” she said. “And they voted two out of three to ban affirmative action. Black voters, who are a tiny minority of the voters in Michigan — just because of the demographics of the state, who are about 15 percent of the electorate — 90 percent of black voters voted against the ban. We’ve come back to a place where states can determine what equality is.”
Gratz noted that “what Ms. Driver fails to recognize is that it’s her group that’s focused on race here. The Michigan voters, they eliminated race and gender preferences in public contracting and public employment and public education. Are we to believe that voters in Michigan are also sexist for eliminating gender preferences?”
“The fact is that the people of Michigan commanded equality,” Gratz claimed. “And that is exactly what our U.S. Constitution should command, is equal treatment under the law for all individuals.”
But Driver refused to be cowed, dodging host Chris Wallace’s next question in order to make her point. “I just wanna say, this is a racist decision that takes us back to an era of states rights, where white majorities can disenfranchise minority communities and now prevent us from getting higher education. This decision cannot stand.”
Gratz was incensed. “I think it is unbelievable that someone would sit here today and say prohibiting racial discrimination is a racist decision,” she responded angrily. “I think that that tells us where the level of discourse is today. Look, good people can disagree. But we can’t have name-calling and baiting like this.”
“The old Jim Crow is now the new Jim Crow,” Driver shot back. “And it does have a name.”
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