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Michigan AG to appeal ruling on affirmative action ban

Attorney General Bill Schuette will appeal a federal court ruling that overturned Michigan’s 2006 constitutional amendment banning affirmative action at public colleges and universities.

Last week in a 2-1 ruling the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals said that this amendment, also known as Proposal 2 or the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative (MCRI), violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment.

A three judge panel found that the law “unconstitutionally alters Michigan’s political structure by impermissibly burdening racial minorities.”

Schuette said that he will fight to preserve the law.

“MCRI embodies the fundamental premise of what America is all about: equal opportunity under the law,” he said in a statement. “Entrance to our great universities must be based upon merit, and I will continue the fight for equality, fairness and rule of law.”

The AG said that he will ask for an en banc rehearing by the full panel of judges for the 6th Circuit, and that the amendment will remain in effect until the court issues a final decision. Failing that, he’ll appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Michigan ACLU’s Executive Director Kary Moss told the Detroit Free Press that Proposal 2 discriminates against students of color by banning consideration of race in admissions while allowing almost all other non-academic factors.

Since Proposal 2 was passed, she said, the number of black, Hispanic and Native American students enrolled in the freshman class at U-M has declined 11.4%.

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