Supreme Court upholds Michigan’s ban on affirmative action


KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that Michigan voters are allowed to ban the practice of race-based affirmative action when it comes to college admissions, the Washington Post's Robert Barnes and William Branigin report.

The justices, in a 6-2 decision, overturned a lower court's ruling that the ban was discriminatory and set a new standard in the battle over affirmative action.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing the decision, said: "This case is not about how the debate about racial preferences should be resolved. It is about who may resolve it."

Kennedy said Michigan voters were merely exercising their prerogative to experiment with different approaches to the issue.

"The decision by Michigan voters reflects the ongoing national dialogue about such practices," Kennedy wrote.

Kennedy, who is generally the court's swing vote, was joined in the opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Stephen Breyer, Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Breyer, notably, generally sides with the court's more liberal justices.

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented, with Justice Elena Kagan not taking part in the case due to her earlier work on the issue while in the Justice Department.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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Aaron Blake · April 22