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Supreme Court rules affirmative action in Michigan's college admissions is unconstitutional

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
4/22/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Seven other U.S. states have similar laws in effect

Hailed as a milestone in a decades-long discourse, the Supreme Court has upheld a ban on the use of race in admission decisions at Michigan's public universities. Marked by protests in the streets of Ann Arbor and previous Supreme Court rulings, it was noted that the U.S. Supreme Court didn't end affirmative action - just upheld the right of voters to ban it.

The ruling focused on a voter-passed proposal that banned the use of race in admissions decisions at public universities.

The ruling focused on a voter-passed proposal that banned the use of race in admissions decisions at public universities.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
4/22/2014 (3 years ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: Supreme Court, affirmative action, Michigan


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "Were the Court to rule that the question addressed by Michigan voters is too sensitive or complex to be within the grasp of the electorate; or that the policies at issue remain too delicate to be resolved save by university officials or faculties, acting at some remove from immediate public scrutiny and control; or that these matters are so arcane that the electorate's power must be limited because the people cannot prudently exercise that power even after a full debate, that holding would be an unprecedented restriction on the exercise of a fundamental right held not just by one person but by all in common," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion.

"It is the right to speak and debate and learn and then, as a matter of political will, to act through a lawful electoral process.

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"The constitutional validity of some of those choices regarding racial preferences is not at issue here."

The ruling focused on a voter-passed proposal that banned the use of race in admissions decisions at public universities. A lower court overturned that ban, but state Attorney General Bill Schuette appealed the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Seven other states - California, Florida, Washington, Arizona, Nebraska, Oklahoma and New Hampshire - have similar bans, and more could follow.

Those who oppose the ban blasted the court for the ruling. "It gives the white majority the right to deny black and Latinos the right to higher education," attorney George Washington, who represented the group By Any Means Necessary said. "It is today's Plessy v. Ferguson ruling. The Supreme Court has made it clear they want to repeal the gains of the Civil Rights movement."

Schuette applauded the ruling in a statement. "The U.S. Supreme Court made the right call today," he said. "Our state constitution requires equal treatment in college admissions, because it is fundamentally wrong to treat people differently based on the color of their skin. A majority of Michigan voters embraced the ideal of equal treatment in 2006, and today their decision was affirmed."

The Justices voted 6-2 to uphold the ban, with several filing opinions both supporting and dissenting from the main opinion.

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