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Michigan Trifecta



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An embarrassment of riches over the past few days in Michigan. As noted here last week, the Michigan house of representatives passed an amendment to its higher-education budget bill last Wednesday that prohibits the state universities from using racial and ethnic admission preferences. Then, on Friday, two important rulings from the state courts. The Michigan court of appeals ruled that Ward Connerly’s ballot initiative to ban preferences can continue to gather signatures, dismissing a challenge that the petition language was misleading. And, in an employment case, the Michigan state supreme court interpreted a state statute as protecting all races equally, prompting a local civil-rights expert to observe: “The Michigan judiciary has made it crystal clear that it will not allow reverse discrimination. I don’t see how [the court] could allow reverse discrimination in college admissions after this opinion.”

Next week will mark the one-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions in the University of Michigan affirmative action cases, which were hailed by proponents of preferences and decried by their opponents. As disappointing as the Court’s decisions were, however, they upheld the use of preferences only narrowly, and left the door open to political and legal challenges to them. Those challenges are continuing—which is unsurprising, given how unfair, divisive, and unpopular this affirmative discrimination remains.



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