Page:Texas Dept. of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc.pdf/37

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Cite as: 576 U. S. ____ (2015)

Thomas, J., dissenting

ethnic societies has been the exception, not the rule. When it comes to "proportiona[l] represent[ation]" of ethnic groups, "few, if any, societies have ever approximated this description." D. Horowitz, Ethnic Groups in Conflict 677 (1985). "All multi-ethnic societies exhibit a tendency for ethnic groups to engage in different occupations, have different levels (and, often, types) of education, receive different incomes, and occupy a different place in the social hierarchy." Weiner, The Pursuit of Ethnic Equality Through Preferential Policies: A Comparative Public Policy Perspective, in From Independence to Statehood 64 (R. Goldmann & A. Wilson eds. 1984).

Racial imbalances do not always disfavor minorities. At various times in history, "racial or ethnic minorities . . . have owned or directed more than half of whole industries in particular nations." Sowell 8. These minorities "have included the Chinese in Malaysia, the Lebanese in West Africa, Greeks in the Ottoman Empire, Britons in Argentina, Belgians in Russia, Jews in Poland, and Spaniards in Chile—among many others." Ibid. (footnotes omitted). "In the seventeenth century Ottoman Empire," this phenomenon was seen in the palace itself, where the "medical staff consisted of 41 Jews and 21 Muslims." Ibid. And in our own country, for roughly a quarter-century now, over 70 percent of National Basketball Association players have been black. R. Lapchick, D. Donovan, E. Loomer, & L. Martinez, Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, U. of Central Fla., The 2014 Racial and Gender Report Card: National Basketball Association 21 (June 24, 2014). To presume that these and all other measurable disparities are products of racial discrimination is to ignore the complexities of human existence.

Yet, if disparate-impact liability is not based on this assumption and is instead simply a way to correct for imbalances that do not result from any unlawful conduct, it is even less justifiable. This Court has repeatedly reaf-