Judicial Watch • Judicial Watch Files Amicus Curiae Brief with U.S. Supreme Court In Support of Michigan Affirmative Action Ban

Judicial Watch Files Amicus Curiae Brief with U.S. Supreme Court In Support of Michigan Affirmative Action Ban

Judicial Watch Files Amicus Curiae Brief with U.S. Supreme Court In Support of Michigan Affirmative Action Ban

JULY 02, 2013

Sixth Circuit ruling against referendum ban on considering race in college admissions constitutes “a dangerous erosion of the people’s right to democratic self-governance.”

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it joined with the Allied Educational Foundation (AEF) in filing an amicus curiae brief with the Supreme Court of the United States in support of Proposition 2, Michigan’s seven-year-old ban on the use of racial preferences in college admissions (Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action et al. (No. 12-682)). On November 15, 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled 8-7 that the affirmative action ban, which Michigan voters overwhelmingly passed in a 2006 referendum, violated the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection laws.  The Supreme Court has granted cert and is now considering Michigan’s appeal.

According to the Judicial Watch-AEF amicus brief filed on July 1:

Among the harms caused by the Sixth Circuit’s decision are: a dangerous erosion of the people’s right to democratic self-governance; the needless further enshrinement of the intellectually impoverished concept of race into law; the perpetuation of a culture of racial and ethnic politics in American public life; and the perpetuation of racial and ethnic resentment and intolerance in American society.

In striking down Proposition 2, the Sixth Circuit Court relied upon the “political restructuring doctrine,” a legal precedent used by courts to invalidate laws judged to impede the access of minorities to the political system. Stating that “the Sixth Circuit’s use of the political restructuring doctrine to propagate racial preferences in Michigan violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” the Judicial Watch- AEF amicus brief argues:

  • “Both the political restructuring doctrine and its application to affirmative action are judicially unjustifiable in present day America … In 2013, significant populations of blacks, whites, and Asians all must compete at the ballot box … [T]he smaller and shrinking white majorities of 2013 have been successfully transformed by the civil rights movement and no longer favor racial exclusion and discrimination.”
  • “[T]he political restructuring doctrine has only been applied to cases where populations vote their racial group interests alone. This assumption is no longer true for popular initiatives on affirmative action, if it ever was. The broad public dislike of affirmative action is spread evenly among America’s racial groups: The wide opposition to affirmative action in college admissions spans partisan and racial divides. Nearly eight in 10 whites and African Americans and almost seven in 10 Hispanics oppose allowing universities to use race as a factor.”

The Michigan ban on racial preferences in college admissions was passed in a 2006 referendum, with 58% voting yes. It was added to the state’s constitution, barring publicly funded colleges from granting “preferential treatment to any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin.” “What is at stake here is the basic right of the citizens of a sovereign state to make their own laws,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The Supreme Court should take up this issue and hold that the people of Michigan were acting within their constitutional rights when they overwhelmingly banned insidious racial discrimination. If it fails to do so, then key aspects of self-governance – including the powers of initiative and referendum — would be rendered meaningless.”

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