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After hearing arguments from both sides, the majority of the U.S. Supreme Court justices appeared to be in support of a 2006 Michigan voter initiative that banned affirmative action, suggesting that the Court will likely rule that the ban is constitutional.
According to USA Today, Chief Justice John Roberts, and Justices Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, and Clarence Thomas seemed to be in support of the ban. Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg appeared opposed to the ban, while Justice Anthony Kennedy seemed to be torn — but leaning more towards the position of Roberts, Scalia, Alito and Thomas.
Speaking about Michigan’s affirmative action ban, the state’s attorney general, Bill Schuette, stated, “Anything a university does that has racial discrimination ought to be thrown in the trash can.” This includes preferential treatment as well, which many believe is what is at the core of affirmative action.
Opponents have argued that preferential treatment for minorities is not a form of discrimination, and furthermore, that upholding such a ban would only serve to put minorities at a disadvantage, since other groups (such as athletes and legacies) still can and do receive special treatment, Bloomberg reports.
Enrollment rates of black students, in fact, have been down 30 percent at Michigan’s undergraduate universities and law schools since the ban was put in place.