Important victory for affirmative action

Michigan universities will be able to consider race and gender, along with numerous other factors, in the admission process, following a ruling last week from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The federal appeals court on Friday struck down Proposal 2, which prohibited the state’s public universities from giving “preferential treatment to any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin.” The court said the ban burdens minorities and violates the U.S. Constitution.

The 2-1 decision overturns a sweeping law known as the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative that forced the University of Michigan and other public schools to change admission policies. The court said the law, approved by voters in 2006, violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

MEA supported the constitutional challenge and filed friend of the court briefs in the federal district and appellate courts.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said the state would appeal the decision.

“(The Michigan Civil Rights Initiative) embodies the fundamental premise of what America is all about: equal opportunity under the law, Schuette said in a statement. “Entrance to our great universities must be based upon merit, and I will continue the fight for equality, fairness and rule of law.”