Is affrimative action dead? SCOTUS rules on who can decide the issue
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
4/22/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
The Supreme Court struck a blow against those seeking to trample on the rights of states, upholding a Michigan voter initiative which banned racial preferences when considering admission into one of the states' public universities, on April 22.
A ruling by the Supreme Court allows states to decide on whether they use a race-conscious policy in admitting students to advanced public education.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "This case is not about how the debate about racial preferences should be resolved," wrote Justice Anthony M. Kennedy in his controlling opinion. "It is about who may resolve it. There is no authority in the Constitution of the United States or in this court's precedents for the judiciary to set aside Michigan laws that commit this policy determination to the voters."
Kennedy was joined by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote the dissent, joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. "The Constitution does not protect racial minorities from political defeat," she wrote. "But neither does it give the majority free rein to erect selective barriers against racial minorities."
This isn't the first time that affirmative action has been the focus of the highest judiciary level in regards to academia, and race-conscious admission policies.
In June of 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that a state can elect to use Affirmative Action policies, which defined when and how a state may prohibit these policies.
The Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action case was decided by a 6-2 vote. Justice Elena Kagan recused herself, presumably due to prior involvement with the case.
The case was brought up by the Michigan initiative Proposal 2, a response to a 2003 Supreme Court decision that upheld the use of race as a factor amongst law school admissions.
Proposal 2 was approved in 2006 by 58 percent of Michigan's voters, and amended the states' Constitution to prohibit discrimination or preferential treatment in public education and employment. Pro-affirmative action groups sued to block the part of the law concerning higher education.
A similar affirmative action ban occurred in California in 1996, and was re-upheld in 2010.
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