Already set to hear a major challenge to the University of Texas race-conscious admissions process, the Supreme Court has added another affirmative action case to its agenda.
The new case, Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, No. 12-682, addresses a Michigan ballot measure that banned race-concious admissions at its state universities.
Late last year a U.S. Appeals Court ruled that the measure violates the Constitution’s equal protection clause.
The appeals court majority said the problem with the law was that it restructured the state’s political process by making it harder for disfavored minorities to press for change.
“A student seeking to have her family’s alumni connections considered in her application to one of Michigan’s esteemed public universities could do one of four things to have the school adopt a legacy-conscious admissions policy: she could lobby the admissions committee, she could petition the leadership of the university, she could seek to influence the school’s governing board, or, as a measure of last resort, she could initiate a statewide campaign to alter the state’s Constitution,” Judge R. Guy Cole Jr. wrote for the majority.
“The same cannot be said,” Judge Cole added, “for a black student seeking the adoption of a constitutionally permissible race-conscious admissions policy. That student could do only one thing to effect change: she could attempt to amend the Michigan Constitution — a lengthy, expensive and arduous process — to repeal the consequences of Proposal 2.”
Opponents of the decision say it essential mandates that the government engage in affirmative action.
The case will be heard later this year, while a decision regarding the U. of Texas is expected soon.
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