WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court is upholding the decision by Michigan voters to ban the use of race as a factor in college admissions.
The justices said in a 6-2 ruling today that voters had the right to change their state constitution, to prohibit public colleges and universities from considering race in deciding which students get admitted.
A lower court had set aside the change, saying it was discriminatory.
Writing for the majority justices today, Anthony Kennedy said voters chose to eliminate racial preferences, presumably because it's a system that could lead to race-based resentment. He said the court had no basis for changing the election result.
He said the case isn't about how the debate on racial preferences should be resolved -- but rather "about who may resolve it."
In a dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said the decision tramples on the rights of minorities. She said legislation approved by voters can potentially "oppress minority groups."
Similar voter-approved initiatives are in place in California and Washington state.
Since the ban took effect in Michigan, black and Latino enrollment at the University of Michigan has dropped.