Supreme Court upholds Michigan ban on Affirmative Action

By Daniel S Levine,

The Supreme Court justices have approved of Michigan’s ban on Affirmative Action. This bans state universities from considering racial preferences when admitting students.

The state ban was approved by voters in 2006 and added an amendment to the state Constitution, prohibiting discrimination for government jobs and education, notes The New York Times. Groups sued the state, hoping to keep Affirmative Action alive at state universities. Ultimately, the justices voted 6-2 in favor of the state. Justice Elena Kagan was recused from the case, Schuette v. Coalition.

According to USA Today, California, Florida, Washington, Arizona, Nebraska, Oklahoma and New Hampshire already have their own bans on Affirmative Action. While the ruling may keep those bans in place, it does not keep the 42 states without bans from still using Affirmative Action.

The decision comes a decade after two Supreme Court rulings directly affected the University of Michigan. One struck down a point system that included race, while another upheld the law school’s decision to use race as a determining factor for applicants.

Justice Anthony Kennedy said in his decision that the key for him was upholding what the voters of Michigan decided for their state. Keeping the voters from doing so would be “an unprecedented restriction on a fundamental right held by all in common.”

Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented. Sotomayor wrote a 58-page dissent, saying that minority enrollment in Michigan state universities will begin to decline, as it has in California. “The numbers do not lie,” she wrote.

While Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito also joined Kennedy’s opinion, Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas wrote their own. Justice Stephen Breyer also wrote a third opinion himself.

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