Supreme Court Upholds Michigan Affirmative Action Ban

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.


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