Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Supreme Court approves Michigan voters' ban on affirmative action in admissions

The Supreme Court upheld a Michigan law approved by referendum of voters, denying the ability of universities and colleges to use affirmative action in admissions.  The CNN story by Bill Mears is here

Michigan has a long history with affirmative action, dating back over 15 years, covered here before.

Michigan had a constitutional ban on affirmative action, which had itself been struck down as posing an unreasonable burden.  But the Court said that the legislature or voters (even a voter approved constitutional amendment) could stop race-conscious selection. The opinion did not take a position on race-based admissions as its own issue this time. 

Justice Sonia Sotomayor read her dissent from the bench.

I can remember a discussion back in 1997 with a bookstore owner in Richmond, about to carry my first book, who vigorously supported it. 

The slip opinion is here.

It's likely that many other states will try constitutional amendments on race-sensitive admissions.

It will be interesting to see if the court’s ruling applies to gay marriage cases.   The history of Prop 8 in the context of this case is rather complicated. 

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