Mich. ban on affirmative action upheld by Supreme Court
- In a Tuesday decision, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Michigan's ban on affirmative action in public university admissions in a 6-2 vote.
- Though the court previously upheld such admissions policies as constitutional in states wanting to use them, Tuesday's decision was focused on voter prohibition of race-conscious admissions.
- Michigan's Proposal 2 was voted in by 58% of voters in response to a 2003 decision by the Supreme Court that upheld the use of race as a determining factor in admissions to guarantee diversity in law schools.
In her dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said Proposal 2 — which also bans affirmative action in government contracting and public employment — placed a burden on minorities that other applicants don't deal with. An appeals court previously ruled against the initiative in 2012, stating that it violated the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause.
The court's decision also follows a highly publicized protest and news conference by rejected University of Michigan applicant Brooke Kimbrough, who is backed by civil rights activist group By Any Means Necessary. While the University of Michigan has acknowledged that it has diversity issues and would like to raise its percentage of black students to 10% (it's currently less than 5%), the Huffington Post also noted that Kimbrough's ACT score of 23 and GPA of 3.6 were lower than the average ACT score of 29 and GPA of 3.85 possessed by the school's fall 2013 class.
At the end of the day, race-conscious admissions are a tricky area to navigate. While universities would like to present a diverse student body reflective of the nation's population, achieving that diversity can potentially come at the cost of rejecting applicants who are more qualified — a point Jennifer Gratz, a white woman who says she was wait-listed by U-M in 1995 because of affirmative action has long argued. She eventually took her own case to the Supreme Court and won in 2003.
- The New York Times Supreme Court Upholds Michigan’s Affirmative Action Ban
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