College Affirmative Action Ban Struck Down

A federal appeals court has overturned Michigan's ban against considering race in admissions. 

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University of Michigan Law Library (via Wikipedia)

Michigan's constitutional amendment prohibiting the consideration of race in college admissions was relatively short-lived. In 2006 the state's voters approved the ban.

But Thursday a federal appeals court struck it down, reasoning that it presented an extraordinary burden to opponents, who would have to mount their own long, expensive campaign through the ballot box to protect affirmative action, the Associated Press reports: 

That burden "undermines the Equal Protection Clause's guarantee that all citizens ought to have equal access to the tools of political change," said Judge R. Guy Cole Jr., writing for the majority at the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.

The court said having supporters and opponents debate affirmative action through the governing boards of each public university would be much fairer than cementing a ban in the constitution, which it referred to as home of "the highest level" of public policy.

The court did not comment on a portion of the amendment that deals with government hiring.

The decision is limited to states in the 6th Circuit, which includes Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee. But it also raises the odds that the U.S. Supreme Court may get involved. A very similar law in California was upheld by a San Francisco-based appeals court, and the Supreme Court could choose to resolve the conflicting decisions of the 9th Circuit and the 6th Circuit on voter-approved bans.

Read more at the Huffington Post.

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Sept. 19 2014 8:34 AM