"Extreme: the most remote in any direction; outermost or farthest: the extreme edge of the field." (American Heritage Dictionary)
Judge Samuel Alito, President Bush's nominee to the Supreme Court, applied for a promotion while working in the Reagan administration. His 1985 application read, in part: "I am particularly proud of my contributions in recent cases in which the government has argued in the Supreme Court that racial and ethnic quotas should not be allowed and that the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion."
Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, immediately pounced. These "extreme statements," said Kennedy, were "deeply troubling." Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., said the application raised questions about Alito's "ideological" position. The New York Times followed up with an obligatory editorial also denouncing as "extreme" Alito's assertion that "the Constitution does not protect the right to an abortion."
When did opposition to quotas become "extreme"?
Quotas -- except when imposed by court order to redress a past pattern of discrimination -- have always been illegal. Paul Igasaki, vice chairman of the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission under Bill Clinton, said in 1995: "As a general rule, current law abhors and bans quotas."
About "quotas," President John F. Kennedy, in a 1963 interview, said, "The Negro community did not want job quotas to compensate for past discrimination. . . . I don't think quotas are a good idea. I think it is a mistake to begin to assign quotas on the basis of religion or race -- color -- nationality. . . . On the other hand, I do think that we ought to make an effort to give a fair chance to everyone who is qualified -- not through a quota -- but just look over our employment rolls, look over our areas where we are hiring people and at least make sure we are giving everyone a fair chance. But not hard and fast quotas. . . . We are too mixed, this society of ours, to begin to divide ourselves on the basis of race or color."
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