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During a hearing for an affirmative action case on Wednesday, conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia suggested that some African-Americans belong at “lesser colleges,” reports CNN.

The remark came as the justice, who was appointed by Republican President Ronald Reagan, questioned an attorney for the University of Texas, which is defending its use of race as a factor in admissions in Fisher v. Texas, a case before the U.S. Supreme Court, notes CNN:

“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,” Scalia said, according to the transcript. “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.”

The attorney, Gregory G. Garre, tried to interject, but Scalia continued.

“They come from lesser schools where they do not feel that they’re being pushed ahead in classes that are too fast for them,” Scalia said. “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.”

Garre argued that the solution to problems of student body diversity is not to set up a system in which not only are students of color attending separate schools, but those that are inferior, the report notes.

The case is being heard by the Supreme Court as college campuses begin to reflect national protests against police brutality and structural racism.

Scalia’s comments about Black students underscores just how far we have to go to bring about important change in this nation.



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