I pit Bricker

With reference to “Did anyone not stack the SCOTUS?” Specifically the atttempted discussion between Bricker and myself in posts 25,25,31,33 et al.

I pit thee. Thou art a dick. My statement said basically that Clarence Thomas was against affirmative action after having been the beneficiary of same his entire academic life, meaning of course that portion after he left the seminary. Bricker asks for a cite which I give him which refers to the fact that The College of the Holy Cross began a new recruiting drive aimed at getting more blacks to enroll and that Thomas did enroll under that program.

HOW IS THAT NOT AFIRMATIVE ACTION? Noone is saying that he needed the assistance, that he could not have done it all on his own, that he might have gone to Stanford and been valedictorian had not Holy Cross made such a tempting offer. The statement in the cite says the college began a new recriuiting drive aimed at enrolling more blacks and Thomas went for that reason. Wiliam Jefferson Clinton cannot parse that statement so finely as to prevent the college’s actions from falling under affirmative action. Bricker you are a “vacuous, toffee-nosed, malodorous pervert.” Stupid git.

“toffee-nosed” Heh.


Neither you not your cite can show that Thomas would not have attended Holy Cross anyway. Certainly, it’s possible that you’re correct, but this cite doesn’t show it.

It’s always been my understanding that “affirmative action” is a program or programs designed to have (presumably african-american) candidates that may not be fully qualified be accepted into a school or somesuch.

A “black recruitment program” could certainly be affirmative action, but I think a school is allowed to recruit outside it’s normal base simply for diversity reasons.

Does your article mention that Thomas would not or could not have been accepted into Holy Cross if not for this program?

Finally, you need to be acutely aware of what Bricker is and does here. He’s a massively conservative Republican politically – with a few redeeming features. But what he does on the Dope is argue three things: (1) In debates on constitutional law, a very strict form of construction that seems to be originalist, though I may be mistaken; (2) a very annoying way of expressing the truth that the facts of the case may not support the conclusion you or I have jumped to; (3) “This is what the law says at present on that topic, whether any of us like it or not.”


  1. There is no clear “right to privacy” in the U.S. Constitution. Fourth and Fifth Amendments protect us against a lot of shit, but don’t spell out a broad-brush privacy. Same goes for the Fourteenth, with additional footnotes on the evils of substantive due process. It might be nice if there were such a right specified, but there isn’t.

  2. Oddly enough, the idea of a fair trial with evidence that convicts beyond reasonable doubt goes for guys you think are despicable as well as those you like. Whatever your politics are.

Or, in the instant case, Clarence Thomas is black. Clarence Thomas was admitted to a school with Affirmative Action policies. It does not therefore follow that the only reason he got in is because of AA – he might have been scholastically competent enough to have won admission against all others on a colorblind program without any AA help. (Personally, though I think he’s somewhat a better legal scholar than some scoffers would be willing to admit, I don’t see it – he’s not the genius that Black or Harlan or Powell or Kennedy was or is, IMO.)

  1. The Supreme Court has declined to find that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right. It has said that marriage is a fundamental right, in a anti-miscegenation case; it has said that any discrimination against gay people must be founded in a rational government need. But it has not determined that SSM is something which people are constitutionally entitled to. There’s one minor lower-court case in which it seemed to set precedent the other way, and it has not otherwise dealt with the issue.

Whether it should find that right present, whether it is arguably true that that right is present, whether the issue should be left to the legislatures of the states, etc., are all irrelevant. The facts of the law at present are that SCOTUS has not so ruled.

The above is pretty typical of the Three Faces of Bricker: Conservative Strict Constructionist Debater; Advocate for Due Process and Nailing Down Facts Before Judging; and SDMB Jurisconsult on what the Law at present actually says, as opposed to what we’d like it to say. The only issue I have with him is when he seems to want to switch hats in mid discussion – start out being jurisconsult and then end up arguing against someone’s position in debater stance.

Two points.

I’m about as opposed to affirmative action as anyone, but even I’m not opposed to recruiting. Maybe I should be in that it would seem to help one group more than another by letting them know what’s available. But even then it would be real tough to make the pint that any one individual who is recruited but eligible is a beneficiary of affirmative action, quotas, racism, whatever you want to call it.

Second…And I don’t know if this point was made in the previous thread…I have a problem with the idea that if I’m a beneficiary of something, that I’m bound for the rest of my life to support that program.

Let’s say Nigel was born last week in a government owned hospital in London. Let’s imagine his treatment was paid for totally by the state. Does he now have to be a believer in socialism for the rest of his life? But wait a second. Nigel survived the first week because his mom and dad earned money and spent it on food for him via a capitalist system. So now he has to be a capitalist forever?

Or what if Nigel has a position about something, then reads a book with an opposing point of view. And he changes his mind. Anybody see a problem with that?

For the record, I’ve been a socialist, a pacifist, a communist, a middle of the road Democrat, a left leaning Democrat, and for the last 20 years a few variations of libertarian and conservative. I don’t think I have anything to be ashamed of.

I think Bricker is right on this one…a recruitment drive is not the same thing as affirmative action. A recruitment drive means that they went out looking for more black applicants, but does not necessarily imply that they loosened standards when those applications were being considered.

Having skimmed the posts you’re complaining of, denis, I have to say you’ve not made out your case. First off, Bricker is questioning your authorities, in a way that some find very irrititating. But it’s the mandate of these Boards to fight ignorance. One of the ways Bricker fulfills that mandate is by rigourous questioning of general statements. If you think of him as Professor Kingsfield, (“you come here with your minds full of mush; you leave here thinking like a lawyer”), it makes it a bit more understandable.

Second, I think his points are valid. First, you referred to a cite to Wiki that did not exist. He called you on that. Second, you gave a cite that only referred to the academic part of Clarence’s history, and extrapolated that to your personal views on the political appointments. Bricker called you on that as well. Both of those criticisms help to define the debate, in a Socratic fashion. That’s not to say it’s an enjoyable experience (See: Athens, pissed off citizens of, c. 399).

And finally, he’s challenged your assumption that an outreach program to increase diverstity is automatically a form of affirmative action. That’s a fair comment on his part, because part of the entire debate over affirmative action is to define the boundaries of when race can be taken into account, and when it cannot.

For example, if the Jesuits of Holy Cross had looked out at their classroom, saw a sea of white faces, and said to themselves, “We are not ministering to the entire population,” and then went on tours to a wider variety of junior schools to increase their catchment, without in any way changing their academic standards, then it would be hard to say it was affirmative action. They would simply be taking steps to make sure that as diverse a group of qualified students as possible got into their school.

If they did, however, change their admission standards for particular races, that probably would amount to affirmative action.

Bricker’s point is that your cite is vague on this key issue, which is essential to determining if Clarence did in fact benefit from affirmative action. That in turn is the major point of your thread. By challenging your reliance on this source, Bricker is forcing you to refine your argument, as a good Socratic.

(Perhaps I’m more accepting of this approach having gone through a few law degrees, and then standing up in court and facing judges trained in it - but believe me, though it can be unpleasant to be on the receiving end of it, it is a well-accepted way of probing assertions.)

Affirmative Action:

Even if Clarence Thomas had lousy grades, this would not be evidence that he was a beneficiery of AA, so I think people are holding a high burden of proof over the OP.

Before Holy Cross began any programs whatsoever, presumably they had a black student at least once in their history. (Of course, given that it’s a Catholic school, and that Roman Catholicism is itself underrepresented amongst the African-American community, I certainly acknowledge the likelihood that Holy Cross was not innundated with black students, but I feel safe in saying there was at least one).

Now, that student clearly attended Holy Cross without benefitting from any affirmative action program of any col…er, of any variety. Right?

Now Holy Cross begins a recruitment program targetting black students. Let us assume, arguendo, that this program fits the definition of affirmative action. Subsequent to that program’s inception, Thomas applies to and is accepted at Holy Cross.

Have we shown that Thomas “benefitted” from the program?

To those of us with darkly suspicious minds, it seems that for a while there being a black conservative was a peerless career move. Witness J.C. Watt, who found himself at the forefront of every Republican photo op for some time. Is Mr. Thomas a front rank legal scholar, or simply an utterly reliable opinion? Once again, I have only my dark suspicion of anything Republican to guide me, and must admit that however reliable that has been in the past, it doesn’t actually prove anything.

Friend Bricker has a law degree, and to a hammer, all problems are nails. Thus a rather annoying habit of smacking someone upside his head with it, suggesting that if you don’t know the difference between an op. cit. and a stark staring decisis, you simply cannot offer an opinion worth typing. That chaffs my hide, but hey! all’s fair, and the Boards are no place for the fragile ego.

I would suggest that the OP’s vulnerability is due to the tenderness that results from being sneered upon at close range. And, to be fair, on more than one occassion friend Bricker has allowed that, yes, indeed, I probably am capable of tying my own shoes and may even be able to tell my ass from a hole in the ground, if the hole is clearly marked.

For a running dog jackal of the ruling class, not an altogether bad sort.

Your understanding then, has been colored by the connotation that tighy-righties like Bricker have been marketing for years.

Affirmative Action was meant to increase the number of underrepresented groups in places like college campuses, which featured a much larger proportion of whites than existed in the populace at large. AA focused on race, in addition to all other factors, as a recruitment consideration.

This led to a number of lawsuits in which plaintiffs claimed that academic or professional standards had been flouted in the name of diversity, and less-qualified students who happened to be black were being admitted over white students who showed better qualifications, and courts found this to be true in a number of cases.

No college says, “Hey, let’s get some sub-par students in here!” What some colleges did, however, was say, “Hey, let’s get some blacks in here!” Then the real numbers they were faced with left some of them making bad decisions pitting diversity against qualification where qualification lost. Noble in intent, but piss-poor in execution in a sadly large number of instances. I believe it was the case of a law school in Michigan losing a case that led to colleges not being able to consider race AT ALL when making admissions decisions.

Of course, paranoid racist conservatives try to (loudly, as usual) push the notion that dilution of quality in the name of race was the point all along, to the point that some now labor under the misapprehension that AA, as originally conceived, was intended to bring poor-quality students into academia under the guise of increasing diversity.

You call choosing diversity over quality noble? Damn.

I’m hoping not to be first up against the wall when the revolution comes. :slight_smile:

At present, you are slated for six weeks at the Jane Fonda Aerobics and Re-Education Camp.

Bricker hit the nail on the head in that (and this) thread. If you think his assessment of your cites is illogical, show why. If you have more substantive cites, provide 'em. But your pitting is lame.

How could we properly demonstrate Thomas benefitting from AA?

If he was accepted with bad grades, you’d be able to show that white students with equally bad grades were also accepted.

If Holy Cross had accepted Thomas as the first black student, you’d be able to hypothesize that Thomas was merely the first qualified black candidate.

If the OP could demonstrate that previous to Clarence Thomas’s enrollment, Holy Cross had very few black students, I would be convinced of, at the very least, the high likelihood that Clarence Thomas benefited from Affirmative Action. Or, if the OP could cite Thomas discussing how he was recruited (if he was in fact recruited), that would be evidence. Now, it’s relevance to Thomas’s views towards AA is another matter (I think the guy is a mediocre justice who got his current job because of AA, but I don’t think he should feel beholden to a policy he believes is unconstitution). But the way you’ve set up your argument, there would be nothing the OP could do to persuade you. Perhaps that’s why he’s all a-tissy.

No, I called it piss-poor.

I pit thee??? You gotta be kidding… Are we supposed to say “Tallyho” or something in response?

It simply does not say that he went there for that reason. You are reading that into the cite.

But you know what… So fucking what if he did benefit from AA and then later in life decided it was overall a bad idea. You could very well be right, but if you are, it really doesn’t matter. Are we not allowed to rethink things over and come to difference conclusions?

Oh, and the partisan furor over SCOTUS appointements did not start with Thomas, but with Bork, as was pointed out in that thread.

Dude, you were wrong on three points and you got called on it. Nothing terrible about that-- all of us have been wrong at times. But you don’t go pitting the guy who called you on being wrong. Not if you want to have anyone take you seriously around here.

For that matter, if he did “benefit” from affirmative action, isn’t he more qualified to criticize it than those of us who didn’t? If he has experience with it, and it was a negative experience, why would he want other minority kids to suffer it, as well?