After affirmative action ruling, MSNBC conducts softball interview with serial misinformer Carrie Severino

Severino compared affirmative action to segregation and Japanese internment

MSNBC provided serial misinformer Carrie Severino a platform to respond to Thursday’s Supreme Court decision ending affirmative action, a policy she compared to segregation and Japanese internment in the U.S. during World War II. Severino is president of the conservative Judicial Crisis Network, and has a history of spreading false information under the veneer of legal analysis.

MSNBC guest anchor Lindsey Reiser appeared completely unprepared for the interview, offering only the mildest pushback as her guest made offensive and unsubstantiated claims. In Reiser’s flawed analysis, the 14th Amendment — which granted citizenship and equal protection under the law to formerly enslaved Black people — is in fact a race-neutral, colorblind addition to the United States Constitution.

Severino’s claim that affirmative action stems from the same logic that justified segregation and Korematsu v. United States — the WWII Supreme Court decision that sanctioned internment of Japanese Americans — is straight from the right-wing playbook. If MSNBC was willing to book Severino, the network should have been prepared for this clichéd and racist talking point. 

Severino additionally referred to different “types” of Asian Americans and Hispanics, and used the phrase “a Black” as a noun, which should be avoided.

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Citation From the June 29, 2023, edition of MSNBC's Chris Jansing Reports

LINDSEY REISER (ANCHOR): Carrie, thank you for being with us on this. You have called this a great and historic decision. Why? 

CARRIE SEVERINO (JUDICIAL CRISIS NETWORK): As the chief justice's majority opinion illustrates as well as the concurrences, that is an opinion that flows from the reasoning in Brown v. Board of Education. It is informed by historic understandings of the Constitution as trying to make equality between the races. The 14th Amendment, equal protection clause, requires that all races be treated equal. And the decision, as well as the concurrences, point out many instances in history where so-called benign racism was invoked and excuses were given to look at race in a way that actually was very harmful. Segregation itself was defended on that front. The Korematsu case, in which Japanese Americans were interned. And the court now is saying we need to get out of racial classifications all together with respect to education in particular, but obviously this is about the promise of the equal protection clause, so this really applies broadly to the government's treatment of race.


REISER: And Carrie, in your Fox News op-ed you cite actually Justice O'Connor who had said this should only be needed, affirmative action, for about another 25 years or so. Do you think we are in a place, society-wise -- Vice President Pence, former Vice President Pence said this at the beginning of our show, that the need for this no longer exists. Do you agree with that? 

SEVERINO: I think there never was a need to discriminate on the basis of race. I think that is pernicious to our society. It perpetuates stereotypes about race and the idea that people of an individual race all agree on an idea. The court points out, particularly when you look at the broad spectrum of experiences that different types of Asian Americans have, different types of Hispanics have -- they talk about the difference between a Black that grew up in Manhattan versus in the segregated South, have very different perspectives. And to throw them all in the same bucket just is perpetuating racial stereotypes. This isn't helpful for our country. I understand they want to help certain races, but it is a zero sum game and it's indeniable that this is harming Asian applicants in particular because they have much higher standards and being subjected to the stereotypes they are sort of boring, uninteresting, automatons and that's simply not fair and it's not true.