On Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action

On Schuette

Pete Osornio
Associate Editor,  Michigan Journal of Race & Law Volume 19

Yesterday, in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, the Supreme Court upheld a state constitutional amendment prohibiting affirmative action preferences in college admissions, effectively making it more difficult for minorities to rectify the lasting impacts of slavery and discrimination. As a result, there are now two vastly different processes by which a Michigan citizen can influence the admissions policies of the State’s universities: one for persons desiring race-sensitive admissions policies and one for everyone else. More significantly, Schuette effectively neutered Grutter v. Bollinger, the case permitting universities to adopt affirmative action policies in the first place. Of course, Grutter’s acceptance of diversity as the only constitutionally acceptable basis for affirmative action in higher education had already limited the ability of states to rectify societal discrimination. For further discussion on that topic, see my forthcoming comment How The Diversity Rationale For Affirmative Action May One Day Limit the First Amendment Rights of Universities.