Oral arguments will take place at the U.S. Supreme Court today for a case that will determine how affirmative action policies can be structured.
In 2006, Michigan voters passed the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative (MCRI) to end race- and gender-based discrimination in state institutions. But in 2012, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the will of the voters in a bizarre ruling that conflicts with the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment.
Jennifer Gratz of the XIV Foundation has long history of challenging and race and gender discrimination. In 2003, she prevailed before the U.S. Supreme Court in the Gratz v. Bollinger ruling, which outlawed the use of race and gender preferences in the University of Michigan’s undergraduate program. The current case is Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action.
According to Gratz:
This will be an important day in the fight for true equality. Seven other states in addition to Michigan have voted to end preferential treatment based on race and gender. How the Court rules in this case will have national implications, determining whether or not citizens have the right to choose equality over discrimination. …
Much progress has been made over the past 15 years in challenging discriminatory policies based on race preferences and requiring colorblind government. The Schuette case offers yet another opportunity to keep the country moving toward this goal.
The opposing group, known in full as the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action Integration and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary, has worked to overturn voter-approved civil rights initiatives across the country.
The MCRI is closely modeled after California’s Proposition 209, which passed in 1996. Other states which have passed similar initiatives include Arizona, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Washington State.