Pelosi calls on Scalia to recuse himself from discrimination cases

Scalia: Some black students don't belong at elite colleges
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Story highlights

  • Pelosi criticized the conservative justice for comments he made during oral arguments over an affirmative action case
  • Democratic officials and liberal outside advocacy groups have long been critical of Scalia

Washington (CNN)House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Friday called for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia to recuse himself from any case before the high court involving discrimination.

Pelosi criticized the conservative justice for comments he made during oral arguments over an affirmative action case Wednesday when he suggested African-American students perform better at less challenging colleges. "It's so disappointing to hear that statement coming from a justice of the Supreme Court," she told Politico. "It clearly shows a bias."
The top House Democrat went further, saying, "I think that the justice should recuse himself from any case that relates to discrimination in education, in voting, and I'm sorry that he made that comment."
    Pelosi's spokesman confirmed the comments to CNN.
    Supreme Court releases audio in affirmitive action case
    Supreme Court releases audio in affirmitive action case

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    Supreme Court releases audio in affirmitive action case 03:21
    Other Democratic officials and civil rights leaders immediately criticized Scalia after hearing his remarks about the case Fischer v. University of Texas. He said, according to audio released on Friday, "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 less -- a slower-track school, where they do well."
    He also added "one of the briefs pointed out that most of the black scientists in this country don't come from schools like the University of Texas."
    Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid denounced Scalia's comments as "racist" on Thursday, and longtime civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis of Georgia questioned whether he could remain impartial in the case currently before the court.
    Democratic officials and liberal outside advocacy groups have long been critical of Scalia, who sides consistently against their positions on a range of issues, but Pelosi is the first high profile Democrat to flatly call for him to remove himself from deliberations on legal cases involving discrimination.