Attorney General Eric Holder, who has repeatedly attributed Congressional attempts to investigate his Justice Department on the color of his skin, weighed in on the Supreme Court’s latest ruling on affirmative action.
The Nation’s highest court Tuesday upheld a Michigan law banning the use of race as a factor in the admission process of colleges in the State.
On the heels of the 6-2 ruling, progressives like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Al Sharpton were quick to criticize the justices’ decision, echoing the tones of a scathing 58-page dissent to the ruling written by Justice Sonya Sotomayor.
The dissenting justice, joined by Ruth Bader Ginsberg, said that “a majority of the Michigan electorate changed the basic rules of the political process” and “uniquely disadvantaged racial minorities.”
“Race matters. Race matters in part because of the long history of racial minorities’ being denied access to the political process,” Sotomayor said.
“Race matters to a young man’s view of society when he spends his teenage years watching others tense up as he passes, no matter what neighborhood he grew up. Race matters to a young woman’s sense of self when she states her hometown, and then is pressed, ‘No, where are you really from?’” she continued.
Speaking at a DOJ diversity event Wednesday, Holder sided with Sotomayor’s “courageous” dissent on the matter of affirmative action.
The Attorney General said that even as minorities like President Barack Obama, Sotomayer and himself have reached some of the Nation’s highest positions of prestige and power, they are still fighting for equal rights.
Holder borrowed from Sotomayer’s “courageous and personal” dissent, saying Americans can’t “wish away, rather than confront, the racial inequality that exists in our society. … The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to speak openly and candidly on the subject of race.”
“[This] great country still has a ways to go before our founding promise of equal justice and equal opportunity is fully realized,” he said.
During a speech to Sharpton’s National Action Network earlier this month, Holder insinuated that Congressional investigations into his actions as the Attorney General were racially motivated.
“I’m pleased to note that the last five years have been defined by significant strides and by lasting reforms even in the face, even in the face, of unprecedented, unwarranted, ugly, and divisive adversity,” he said at the time. “If you don’t believe that, if you look at the way, forget about me, forget about me, if you look at the way the attorney general of the United States was treated yesterday by a House Committee, it had nothing to do with me, forget that, what attorney general has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment?”