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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. Poor Judge Brown probably thought that by slavishly serving the godz of the age her violations of 18th century concepts like due process and the rule of law would be overlooked. Mayhaps she was merely a Judge ahead of her time?

  2. in a lawyer discipline case Judge Brown, now removed, was presiding over a hearing about a lawyer accused of the supposedly heinous ethical violation of saying the words "Illegal immigrant." (IN re Barker) http://www.in.gov/judiciary/files/order-discipline-2013-55S00-1008-DI-429.pdf .... I wonder if when we compare the egregious violations of due process by Judge Brown, to her chiding of another lawyer for politically incorrectness, if there are any conclusions to be drawn about what kind of person, what kind of judge, what kind of apparatchik, is busy implementing the agenda of political correctness and making off-limits legit advocacy about an adverse party in a suit whose illegal alien status is relevant? I am just asking the question, the reader can make own conclsuion. Oh wait-- did I use the wrong adjective-- let me rephrase that, um undocumented alien?

  3. of course the bigger questions of whether or not the people want to pay for ANY bussing is off limits, due to the Supreme Court protecting the people from DEMOCRACY. Several decades hence from desegregation and bussing plans and we STILL need to be taking all this taxpayer money to combat mostly-imagined "discrimination" in the most obviously failed social program of the postwar period.

  4. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  5. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

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