In a June 23, 2003 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, upheld the affirmative action admissions policy of the University of Michigan Law School, allowing the University to continue using race as a “predominant” factor when considering new applicants. Not willing to concede defeat, those who fought to have the policy deemed unconstitutional then changed strategy, seeking an electoral solution. And, on November 7, 2006, Michiganders voted 58% to 42% in favor of legislation known as the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative (MCRI), or Proposal 2. The cleverly titled ballot initiative to amend the Michigan constitution (Who, after all, could possibly vote against civil rights?) aimed to stop the preferential treatment shown to minorities on the basis of race, color, sex, or religion, in the admissions process at the University of Michigan and other publicly funded institutions. Well, on Friday, there was another twist. The following clip comes from the Detroit Free Press:
Affirmative action is back on the menu in Michigan, but for how long is anyone’s guess.
On Friday, a federal appeals court struck down Proposal 2, the 2006 Michigan constitutional amendment that banned affirmative action in college admissions, employment and contracting.
“It’s a tremendous victory,” Detroit attorney George Washington said after a U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled in a 2-1 decision that Proposal 2 was unconstitutional.
He represents a coalition that sued the governing boards of Michigan’s three largest universities — the University of Michigan and Michigan State and Wayne State universities — to overturn the proposal.
Not so fast, countered state Attorney General Bill Schuette, who said he plans to ask the entire U.S. 6th Circuit to reconsider the ruling. In the meantime, Proposal 2 will remain the law, Schuette said…
I’m not a constitutional scholar by any means, but it would seem to me that, given the current make-up of Supreme Court, it’s not likely that affirmative action, once all of this has played out, will once again be the law of the land in Michigan. But, you never know. It’s possible, if the movement to unseat Clarence Thomas on ethical grounds is successful, that there may be a chance… How ironic would that be if the removal of an African American Justice from the nations highest court is what brought affirmative action back?