Cato’s Amicus Brief in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action

by George Leef

Ilya Shapiro writes here about the Court’s next big “affirmative action” case, Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action. That’s the case arising out of Michigan’s Proposition 2, passed in 2006, forbidding state entities from using racial preferences, including in college admissions. The Sixth Circuit reached the absurd conclusion that the Equal Protection clause prohibits the people of Michigan from insisting that all citizens receive equal protection. The argument that enacting a constitutional prohibition somehow is “unfair” to minorities is pathetically flawed. For one thing, even if we assume for the sake of argument that affirmative action is a benefit for some minorities, it is harmful to others. Moreover, the political battle over Prop. 2 was not the Goliath versus David affair that you might assume, with the proponents of doing away with preferences controlling the airwaves and outspending the opponents. Actually, it was exactly the other way around. Almost all of Michigan’s heavy hitters either sided with the opponents or stayed out of the battle, and the anti-2 forces outspent their opponents by about 4 to 1. If those people want to take the matter back to the voters and seek to repeal the preferences ban, they are not at any disadvantage.

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