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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. I just wanted to point out that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Senator Feinstein, former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, and former attorney general John Ashcroft are responsible for this rubbish. We need to keep a eye on these corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent fools.

  2. Well I guess our politicians have decided to give these idiot federal prosecutors unlimited power. Now if I guy bounces a fifty-dollar check, the U.S. attorney can intentionally wait for twenty-five years or so and have the check swabbed for DNA and file charges. These power hungry federal prosecutors now have unlimited power to mess with people. we can thank Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner and Diane Feinstein, John Achcroft and Bill Frist for this one. Way to go, idiots.

  3. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

  4. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

  5. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

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