The Supreme Court agreed on Monday to hear a challenge to a Michigan voter referendum which banned affirmative-action admission practices at the state’s public universities.
Michigan voters passed the ballot initiative with 58 percent of the vote in 2006, and the measure became part of the state constitution. The law banned public universities from giving “preferential treatment to any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin.”
In November, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 8-7 that the initiative was unconstitutional, saying that the ban violated equal protection laws.
Earlier this term, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case challenging a University of Texas affirmative-action program which used race as a factor in admissions, with the goal of increasing diversity on campus. White students challenged the practice, saying it violated their rights. Unlike the Michigan case, the policy wasn’t the result of action by voters.
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette will defend the affirmative-action ban during oral arguments next fall, CNN reported
The ban “embodies the fundamental premise of what America is all about: equal opportunity under the law,” said Schuette, according to CNN. “Entrance to our great universities must be based upon merit.”
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