The United States Supreme Court upheld the State of Michigan's ban of Affirmative Action in college admissions, according to ABC News on Tuesday. In the 6-2 decision, the high court ruled that the citizens of Michigan had a right to change the State constitution, nullify Affirmative Action and eliminate race as a factor in college and university admissions.
In defending the high court's decision, Justice Anthony Kennedy stated that it was concerns over "race based resentment" that caused voters to vote to overturn Affirmative Action in Michigan and to eliminate race as a factor in college and university admissions. Kennedy went on to say that neither the Constitution itself nor prior Court decision precedents allowed for the Supreme Court to overturn the vote of the People of Michigan to ban Affirmative Action from college and university admissions:
"This case is not about how the debate about racial preferences should be resolved. It is about who may resolve it."
Conversely, Justice Sonia Sotomayor stated that the Michigan vote "tramples" minorities even though the vote was arrived at democratically:
"But without checks, democratically approved legislation can oppress minority groups."
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg supported Sotomayor's position on the decision. Sotomayor accused the high court of "wishing away" racial inequity in America rather than confronting it:
(Judges) "ought not sit back and wish away, rather than confront, the racial inequality that exists in our society."
Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, along with Sotomayor, benefited from Affirmative Action when they both were admitted to Princeton University and later to Yale Law School. Nevertheless, Thomas is steadfast in his opposition to any kind of racial preferences in college and university admissions.
Chief Justice Roberts cautioned justices on both sides of the debate not to question each other's honesty and "openness" in arriving at their decisions:
(It) "does more harm than good to question the openness and candor of those on either side of the debate."
Affirmative Action was created by both Presidents John Kennedy (1961) and Lyndon Johnson (1965) by Executive orders 10925 and 11246, both of which sought to ensure that Americans were not discriminated against in employment. Executive Order 11246, which was enacted in 1965 by President Johnson, also included a provision banning discrimination in admissions by the University of California, and promising to withhold federal funding from the University if it was to engage in discriminatory practices. The Executive order was interpreted to include any and all colleges and universities in the United States in their admissions practices and largely was upheld until challenges to its Constitutionality began emerging in California and other states, and, most recently in Michigan in 2014 with Tuesday's high court decision.
Advocates for minority rights and Affirmative Action vow not to give up and are promising to appeal the high court's decision pertaining to college and university admissions in Michigan.