TBA Law Blog

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Apr 22, 2014

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld a Michigan law banning the use of racial criteria in college admissions, CNN reports. The justices found 6-2 that a lower court did not have the authority to set aside a referendum measure approved in 2006 by 58 percent of voters. Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy said the decision is "not about the constitutionality or merits" of affirmative action but “about who may resolve it." University of Notre Dame law professor Jennifer Mason McAward summed up the ruling as follows: "With today's opinion, the court has placed responsibility for affirmative action squarely in the hands of the states. State universities can choose to adopt affirmative action admissions programs, and state voters can choose to discontinue them." Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented from the majority decision saying it "eviscerates" the equal-protection guarantee that government should not make it harder for minorities to participate in self-government. Justice Elena Kagan recused herself from the case.