Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action

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Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action

The Supreme Court heard the Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action case in 2013 and issued a ruling in 2014.[1] The case dealt with a Michigan state constitutional amendment prohibiting public universities from considering race in admissions, passed by Michigan voters in 2006.[2] According to the American Civil Liberties Union:

"Shortly after the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the constitutionality of affirmative action in 2003's Grutter v. Bollinger, opponents of equal opportunity began a campaign to destroy affirmative action in Michigan. The result was Proposal 2, a ballot initiative campaign marked by widespread fraud and deception. Although a federal court found the proponents of the initiative, the so-called American Civil Rights Institute, to have committed a campaign of deception in violation of the rights of the citizens of Michigan, the initiative was nonetheless put before the voters in the fall of 2006 and passed by a margin of 58% to 42%. In response, Michigan's public universities put an end to their affirmative action programs."[3]

Justice Elena Kagan recused herself. The remaining justices voted 6-2 to uphold Michigan's ban of race-based preferences in public university admissions. Writing for a plurality, Justice Kennedy wrote the decision was "not about the constitutionality, or the merits, of race-conscious admissions policies in higher education" but instead about "whether, and in what manner, voters in the States may choose to prohibit the consideration of racial preferences in governmental decisions."[2]

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