The Supreme Court has agreed to hear another major affirmative action case, Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, No. 12-682. At issue is the legality of Michigan's voter-approved ban of using racial preferences in admissions to the state's public universities.
The Michigan law had prohibited preferential treatment based on race, sex or national origin in public employment, public education or public contracting. The Cincinnati-based 6th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the law last fall by an 8-7 vote on the grounds that it violates the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause.
That ruling did not comment directly on the portion of the state law dealing with government hiring. However, the opinion took proponents of the ban to task for what the appeals court viewed as an attempted "end run" around the Supreme Court's 2003 holding in Grutter v. Bollinger, +539 U.S. 306 (2003), which held that universities could use race or ethnicity as a "plus factor" in considering applicants.
The Supreme Court already has an affirmative action case pending before it, Fisher v. University of Texas, 11-345. That case involves a challenge brought by a rejected white student to the use of race as a "factor" in admissions by the University of Texas. A host of employer groups are supporting the university's position. A decision is expected before the end of the Court's term in June.
As for the Michigan affirmative action battle, the justices are expected to hear arguments in the case next fall.
Employee Management > EEO - Affirmative Action: Michigan
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