Supreme Court upholds affirmative action ban
The Supreme Court upheld a voter decision in Michigan to ban affirmative action, arguing that the populous has the right to decide the fate of such programs.
The Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that a decision by a majority of Michigan voters to ban affirmative action in college admissions is constitutional, setting precedent for states who may wish to institute similar bans based on popular opinion. A majority of voters passed Proposal 2 eight years ago before it was challenged and overturned in a circuit court.
The majority decision focused on the right of voters to decide rather than the effectiveness of affirmative action programs, emphasizing that, "the principle that the consideration of race in admissions is permissible when certain conditions are met is not being challenged."
Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg were the only two who dissented from the majority decision, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy. Justice Elena Kagan did not weigh in on the decision as she had recused herself from the case.
Justice Sotomayor said that her dissent was based precisely on the idea that voters can overturn measures like affirmative action, that are meant to combat the effects of majority attitudes against minority groups.
"Our Constitution places limits on what a majority of the people may do," Sotomayor wrote in the dissent. "This case implicates one such limit—the guarantee of equal protection of the laws."