SCOTUS upholds Michigan affirmative-action ban

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The Supreme Court of the United States by a vote of 6-2 Tuesday upheld Michigan’s constitutional amendment banning the use of affirmative action by its public universities.

Justice Anthony Kennedy delivered the decision in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, 12-682, upholding Article I, Section 26 of the Michigan Constitution, which prohibits the use of race-based preferences as part of the admissions process for state universities. Michigan residents voted to add that language to their Constitution.

Kennedy pointed out the issue before the court is about whether and in what manner voters in the states may choose to prohibit the consideration of such racial preferences.

In 2003 the Supreme Court reviewed the constitutionality of two admissions systems at the University of Michigan, one for its undergraduate class and one for its law school, which permitted the explicit consideration of an applicant’s race. The undergraduate admissions plan was addressed in Gratz v. Bollinger, 539 U. S. 244, in which the justices invalidated the plan as a violation of the Equal Protection Clause. The law school admission plan was addressed in Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U. S. 306, in which the court found no constitutional flaw in the law school admission plan’s more limited use of race-based preferences.

As a result of those decisions, voters in 2006 adopted the amendment at issue that includes a prohibition of race-based preferences as part of the admissions process for state universities.

“This case is not about how the debate about racial preferences should be resolved. 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. Deliberative debate on sensitive issues such as racial preferences all too often may shade into rancor. But that does not justify removing certain court-determined issues from the voters’ reach.  Democracy does not presume that some subjects are either too divisive or too profound for public debate,” Kennedy wrote.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor filed a 58-page dissent, in which Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg joined. Sotomayor wrote, “While our Constitution does not guarantee minority groups victory in the political process, it does guarantee them meaningful and equal access to that process. It guarantees that the majority may not win by stacking the political process against minority groups permanently, forcing the minority alone to surmount unique obstacles in pursuit of its goals—here, educational diversity that cannot reasonably be accomplished through race-neutral measures. Today, by permitting a majority of the voters in Michigan to do what our Constitution  forbids, the Court ends the debate over race-sensitive admissions  policies in Michigan in a manner that contravenes constitutional protections long recognized in our precedents.”

Justice Elena Kagan did not participate in the case.



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  1. Great observation Smith. By my lights, speaking personally, they already have. They counted my religious perspective in a pro-life context as a symptom of mental illness and then violated all semblance of due process to banish me for life from the Indiana bar. The headline reveals the truth of the Hoosier elite's animus. Details here: Denied 2016 petition for cert (this time around): (“2016Pet”) Amicus brief 2016: (“2016Amici”) As many may recall, I was banned for five years for failing to "repent" of my religious views on life and the law when a bar examiner demanded it of me, resulting in a time out to reconsider my "clinging." The time out did not work, so now I am banned for life. Here is the five year time out order: Denied 2010 petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): (“2010Pet”) Read this quickly if you are going to read it, the elites will likely demand it be pulled down or pile comments on to bury it. (As they have buried me.)

  2. if the proabortion zealots and intolerant secularist anti-religious bigots keep on shutting down every hint of religious observance in american society, or attacking every ounce of respect that the state may have left for it, they may just break off their teeth.

  3. "drug dealers and traffickers need to be locked up". "we cannot afford just to continue to build prisons". "drug abuse is strangling many families and communities". "establishing more treatment and prevention programs will also be priorities". Seems to be what politicians have been saying for at least three decades now. If these are the most original thoughts these two have on the issues of drug trafficking and drug abuse, then we're no closer to solving the problem than we were back in the 90s when crack cocaine was the epidemic. We really need to begin demanding more original thought from those we elect to office. We also need to begin to accept that each of us is part of the solution to a problem that government cannot solve.

  4. What is with the bias exclusion of the only candidate that made sense, Rex Bell? The Democrat and Republican Party have created this problem, why on earth would anyone believe they are able to fix it without pushing government into matters it doesn't belong?

  5. This is what happens when daddy hands over a business to his moron son and thinks that everything will be ok. this bankruptcy is nothing more than Gary pulling the strings to never pay the creditors that he and his son have ripped off. they are scum and they know it.