The Court takes on affirmative action again
Only four months after ruling on the biggest affirmative action case in years, the Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments in a Schuette v Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action. In June, the Court sent Fisher v. University of Texas back to the lower courts with instructions to take a critical look at the affirmative action policies in place, insuring that they are used very narrowly and only when other means of seeking diversity have been exhausted. In this week’s case, the justices will consider whether or not a state can ban race as an admission factor in public colleges. Specifically, Michigan’s “Proposal 2” was a voter-approved measure that passed in 2006 by a margin a 58% to 42%. It states that “any public college or university, community college, or school district shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.” Since its passage, it has been argued in many lower courts, including the Court of Appeals, which ruled last year that Proposal 2, or the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, was unconstitutional. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette disagreed with the lower court ruling and appealed to the Supreme Court. Richard Wolf, in USA Today, interviewed Attorney General Schuette who said “what could be wrong with a state constitutional amendment that “shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin? Others such as the ACLU strongly disagree. Yet, with a conservative court in place, many observers are prepared for an opinion that further limits race-based admissions.
What do you think?