Court Backs Michigan on Affirmative Action

Supreme Court upheld a Michigan constitutional amendment that bans affirmative action in admissions to the state’s public universities.

Lisa Valadez | 4/22/2014, 9:33 p.m.
Supreme Court upholds Michigan's affirmative action ban
Cherry blossom trees bloom on the grounds of the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, March 28, 2011

WASHINGTON — In a fractured decision that revealed deep divisions over what role the judiciary should play in protecting racial and ethnic minorities, the Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld a Michigan constitutional amendment that bans affirmative action in admissions to the state’s public universities.

The 6-to-2 ruling effectively endorsed similar measures in seven other states. It may also encourage more states to enact measures banning the use of race in admissions or to consider race-neutral alternatives to ensure diversity.

States that forbid affirmative action in higher education, like Florida and California, as well as Michigan, have seen a significant drop in the enrollment of black and Hispanic students in their most selective colleges and universities.

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