When people die, the details of their lives start to leak out, both good and bad. The pieces of Justice Antonin Scalia’s life are emerging to make a more complete picture of him. During the time before he became a Supreme Court Justice, he taught at the elite University of Chicago Law School for five years, from 1977 to 1982. That is where his racial discrimination came into play.
On the Supreme Court bench, Scalia railed against affirmative action, tried to undermine the Voting Rights Act, and did he best to make life for Black Americans miserable. So how did he get to that point?
Several African American former students, who studied law under Scalia now call him a “blatant racist.” Arnim Johnson’s post about Scalia on Facebook has gone viral. The path of failed black law students followed Scalia from one law school to another.
At the University of Virginia, Johnson wrote that he thought Scalia was driven to become a WASP elite, and as the son of poor Sicilian immigrants he became:
‘…consumed with putting as much space between himself and Negroes as possible.’
His grade, an F shocked Johnson:
‘Scalia was a law professor of mine, and was on the faculty of the U of Chicago the entire three years I attended. The law school is one of the smallest in the country, housed in one building and relatively intimate as graduate schools go.’
‘While I was there, Scalia was outed as a blatant racist…Scalia flunked every black student who took his classes that year. Nobody flunks courses in elite law schools. It’s unheard of.’
‘He flunked one brother so badly, it skewered his grade average, and he became the first, last, and only student in the history of the school to repeat first year. That man went on to become a repected [sic] military judge.’
‘…Scalia was an academic star actively politicking for a federal judgeship with national political connections.’
‘However, what he thought of black people was indisputable, and believe me it was nothing nice.’
Federal Elections Commission attorney Ben Streeter studied under Scalia, too. He noticed white students received preferential treatment:
‘In those days, the only students who came by to visit him were in the Federalist Society group. There was not a single black member of the Federalist Society in my three years at the University of Chicago.’
And Scalia’s destructive legacy goes way beyond basic human rights.
Phillip Hampton, now senior counsel at Haynes and Boone in Washington, DC said:
‘It seemed very strange that almost every black student’s lowest grade was in Scalia’s class. I don’t think any black person got more than a C- from Scalia…black students received Ds and Cs, [and Scalia] failed Arnim [Johnson].’
The U of C admitted that professors:
‘…had access to the [exam] blue book numbers and names.’
Hampton also recalls an ominous remark by Scalia:
‘He made a statement once that he could tell—because he was such a linguist—that he could usually tell papers that were written by African Americans.’
‘There were very few African Americans in my class, so my first friends were white guys, and I studied with them. [I] wrote the entire outline for contracts, and I had the lowest grade in [Scalia’s] class, got a C-, one of my lowest grades ever.’
As for his classmates?
‘Pretty sure the white guys got in the mid 70s, and one got an 80, which was an A.’
Recently, Scalia came under fire for suggesting black students would do better at less-advanced colleges and universities:
‘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 slower-track school where they do well.’
Scalia’s prejudices reached beyond race to women and poorer people. As one of the court’s most conservative members, he voted to scale back the reach of class-action (group) suits. He wrote the 5-4 ruling in 2011 that said Walmart Stores Inc. couldn’t be sued by potentially a million female workers.
How much do you think people will miss him?
H/T: The Gawker.