J. Christian Adams on Affirmative Action
By Ryan J. Reilly | December 22, 2009 10:44 pm
J. Christian Adams at a Federalist Society meeting in Washington last month. (Photo by Ryan J. Reilly / Main Justice).

J. Christian Adams at a Federalist Society meeting in Washington last month. (Photo by Ryan J. Reilly / Main Justice).

J. Christian Adams, the career Justice Department attorney who compiled the voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party that has become a distraction for the Obama administration, doesn’t hide his conservative leanings.

Adams attended at a panel discussion on civil rights at the conservative Federalist Society’s National Lawyers Convention in Washington in November, where he asked a question that appeared critical of affirmative action.

“We’ve seen essentially at least five presidential elections go by where not a word is spoken in the debates about affirmative action, whether we should keep it, whether we should expand it,” Adams said. ”There’s been similar silence in congressional elections.”

He added: “Would you welcome a change where there’s a full and robust debate in this county about whether race-based preferences should continue, and if so, how long should they continue and under what circumstances? Or do you prefer that we maintain the status quo during election season about this issue?”

Adams addressed his question to a panel that included Peter Kirsanow, a George W. Bush appointee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, which subpoenaed Adams a few weeks later to give a deposition about the DOJ’s decision to dismiss the Black Panther case. A lawyer representing Adams has been arguing to the Justice Department that his client has an obligation to comply with the subpoena.

Main Justice was in attendance at the November panel, where the photo of Adams displayed above was taken. The Federalist Society later posted a recording of the discussion, part of which is embedded below. Adams’ question is just after the four minute mark.



  1. J Erie says:

    Affirmative Action needs to go. It constitutes racial discrimination against white people and is therefore unfair policy. The one valid excuse for racial preferences is compensation for past wrongs but there is nothing blacks deserve compensation for. They have benefited enormously from life in a white-dominated society. Because black limitations are overwhelmingly likely to be inherent whites have no obligation to help them overcome them. If anything, whites deserve compensation for the continuing violence and larceny they suffer at the hands of blacks.

    Affirmative Action thinking is contradictory in its view of preferences justified on probabilistic grounds: even if it cannot be proven that any given black has suffered from white wickedness or that any given white has benefited from it, the reasoning is that chances are high enough to justify rewarding the one group and punishing the other. However, preference advocates refuse to consider any probabilistic policies that might inconvenience blacks. Blacks are far more violent than whites but liberals would gasp at the idea of making it more difficult for blacks than whites to own guns. Preventing violence is a far more legitimate role of government than promoting “diversity,” so why is probabilistic reasoning unwarranted in crime control?

    Affirmative action also violates the liberals’ cherished notion that “separate is inherently unequal.” If separate employment or promotion standards are valid for blacks, why not separate schools – which would presumably be designed to meet their special needs? Incoherence on questions like this is mere cover for the conviction that the state may never allow race to be used against blacks but can require that it be used against whites.


The Senate Democratic leader describes the Republicans' refusal to hold hearings on President Obama's eventual Supreme Court nominee "historically unbelievable and historically unprecedented."

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