Michigan Ban on Affirmative Action Upheld by Supreme Court

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette (L) speaks during a press conference after going before the Supreme Court in 'Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action.' Oct. 15, 2013 (Andrew Burton/Getty)

In a 6-to-2 decision issued Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a Michigan state ban on affirmative action in public higher education. The issue before the Court centered around whether Michigan’s voters had violated the Constitution by forbidding race-conscious admissions plans at public universities. 

In earlier cases, including one last June concerning University of Texas, the Court said that race-conscious admissions policies can be constitutionally permissible in states that wish to use them. This new decision focuses more on whether and how voters can stop affirmative action.

“This case is not about how the debate about racial preferences should be resolved,” Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in a controlling opinion joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito. “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.”

Kareem Crayton, a professor of law at the University of North Carolina Law School, explains the ramifications of this ruling.



Kareem Crayton


T.J. Raphael

Comments [2]

Robert Thomas from Santa Clara

In its consideration of Hollingsworth v. Perry, The U.S. Supreme Court didn't overthrow state law (California Proposition 8) prohibiting recognition of same-sex marriage, it decided that the plaintiffs had no standing to proceed.

The court recognized that State offices in California including those of the Governor and Attorney General had decided not to try to enforce the law resulting from the passage of proposition 8 or try to defend constitutional challenges to the law. Their view seems to have been that the Hollingsworth plaintiffs' recourse was to elect new state officers who might act differently.

That doesn't seem likely to be a fruitful course in the near future, anyway.

Apr. 22 2014 03:38 PM
DiL k from ny

as far as offensive questions I've been asked during interviews. I've been asked on many occasions if I'd be willing to cut off my hair. I'm white but I have an alternative hairstyle known as a Mohawk and its not never once got in the way of my ability to do any job I've ever had but I've been repeatedly asked to cut off my hair just to get a job even when I do not wear it up for work.

Apr. 22 2014 03:36 PM

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