Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Supreme Court agrees to hear new affirmative action case

As we await the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Fisher v. University of Texas, Stephen Wermiel at SCOTUSBlog discusses the Court's granting certiorari in another affirmative action case. The new case, Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, shifts Fisher's focus from challenging affirmative action policies to whether a statewide ban on affirmative action violates equal protection, a measure approved by Michigan voters in 2006. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette describes the case as Michigan voters taking up Grutter's invitation to abolish race-conscious admissions policies in education. Read the close (8-7) Sixth Circuit en banc opinion holding Michigan's Proposal 2 unconstitutional here.

Meanwhile, there are plenty of perspectives about what the Court will decide in Fisher, particularly as Justice Elena Kagan has recused herself and Grutter's author, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, has been replaced by Justice Samuel Alito, who has been described as skeptical about affirmative action. At Fisher's oral argument, Justice Alito said he thought that the point of diversity policies is to allow underprivileged students access to higher education rather than promoting racial preferences. Read more predictions and perspectives on Fisher here, here, here, and here.

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