Clarence Thomas Denounced  Brown V. Board On Its 70th Anniversary

clarence thomas sitting down
Zain Murdock
June 18, 2024

In 1954, the Brown v. Board of Education decision, argued before the Supreme Court by Thurgood Marshall of the NAACP, officially mandated school desegregation. But in 2024, Clarence Thomas has called that victory an overstep.

In a recent concurrence opinion in a South Carolina gerrymandering case, he wrote that “extravagant uses of judicial power” had ended segregation with Brown v. Board. According to Thomas, federal courts shouldn’t have “the flexible power to invent whatever new remedies may seem useful at the time.”

But after Brown v. Board, the Court didn’t even establish a desegregation deadline for school districts in the South. The last segregated school district in the U.S. wasn’t ordered to desegregate until 2016.

Thomas’ comments come at a time when Black and white students are statistically resegregated. Black students attending predominantly nonwhite schools receive fewer resources and opportunities.

The dismantling of Affirmative Action and the overturning of Roe v. Wade are only two reminders that the Supreme Court does have the power to revoke progress. But despite increases in educational disempowerment, censorship, and blatant anti-Blackness, all won’t be lost if Thomas’ words are a warning of a future legal attack on Brown v. Board. From off-campus freedom schools to Black student and faculty organizers fighting their institutions, we can and will empower ourselves.