Supreme Court Returns To Affirmative Action In Michigan Case

The U.S. Supreme Court takes up the issue of affirmative action again Tuesday, but this time the question is not whether race may be considered as a factor in college admissions. Instead, this case tests whether voters can ban affirmative-action programs through a referendum.

In 2003, the high court upheld the University of Michigan Law School's affirmative-action policy. The next day, opponents of affirmative action launched a referendum campaign to bar such programs, and in 2006, voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot initiative amending the state constitution to ban affirmative-action programs in higher education. Michigan's state colleges and universities promptly abandoned any use of race or ethnicity to promote diversity, and minority enrollment plummeted.

In 2012, a federal appeals court ruled that the referendum itself was discriminatory, and the U.S. Supreme Court stepped in to decide the issue.

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