WASHINGTON, Aug. 1 (UPI) — The perennial issue of university affirmative action could be headed back to the U.S. Supreme Court as two cases advance.
In their last major ruling, the justices said in 2003 that the University of Michigan could not give minority applicants automatic extra points but could consider race as part of a larger picture.
In Fisher vs. University of Texas, a federal appellate panel upheld a race-conscious admissions policy, but only by 9 to 7, and dissenters all but invited the Supreme Court to step in, The Washington Post reports.
Meanwhile, another appeals court has struck down a Michigan constitutional amendment passed by voters in 2006 that bars public universities from granting “preferential treatment to any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin.”
The appellate panel judges ruled 2 to 1 that the amendment violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment because it shifts the state’s political structure to minorities’ disadvantage, but state Attorney General Bill Schuette asked the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit in Cincinnati Friday to review the decision, and says he will go to the Supreme Court if necessary.
In the separate University of Texas case, students Abigail Fisher and Rachel Michalewicz, who say the admissions policy discriminated against them, have until mid-September to seek a Supreme Court review.