Court Rejects Michigan's Affirmative Action Ban

Colleges can't ignore race in admissions, say judges
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 1, 2011 3:11 PM CDT
Students walk across the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor in this file photo.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – A federal appeals court today struck down Michigan's ban on the consideration of race and gender in college admissions, saying it burdens minorities and violates the Constitution. The 2-1 decision upends a sweeping law that forced the University of Michigan and other public schools to change admission policies. The 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals said the law, approved by voters in 2006, violates the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause. Michigan pledged to appeal, and the case could end up in the Supreme Court.

The court mostly was concerned about how the affirmative action ban was created. Because it was passed as an amendment to the state constitution, it can only be changed with another statewide vote. This places a big burden on minorities who object to it, said judges R. Guy Cole Jr. and Martha Craig Daughtrey. The ban's supporters could have chosen "less onerous avenues to effect political change," they wrote.

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