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Posted on Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 2:59 p.m.

Appeals court strikes down ban on affirmative action in university admissions

By Kellie Woodhouse


Students on the University of Michigan campus. A federal appeals court Thursday ruled Michigan's voter-approved ban on affirmative action is unconstitutional when it comes to university admissions. photo | Joseph Tobianski

This story will be updated.

The University of Michigan may be able to consider race in its admissions process again following an appeals court ruling Thursday.

The state's ban on affirmative action in college admissions was declared unconstitutional Thursday by a deeply divided federal appeals court, six years after state voters said race could not be an issue in choosing students.

In an 8-7 decision, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati said the voter-approved 2006 amendment to the Michigan Constitution is illegal because it presents an extraordinary burden to opponents who would have to mount their own long, expensive campaign through the ballot box to protect affirmative action, the Associated Press reported.

In striking down the proposal, the court agreed with a July 2011 federal ruling that the proposal is illegal.

That burden "undermines the Equal Protection Clause's guarantee that all citizens ought to have equal access to the tools of political change," said Judge R. Guy Cole Jr., writing for the majority at the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.

It would be much fairer for supporters and opponents to debate affirmative action through the governing boards of each public university, the court said, instead of cementing a ban in the constitution — "the highest level."

The court did not comment on part of the amendment that deals with government hiring.

University of Michigan officials were sorting out what the 74-page ruling means Thursday afternoon. "There's a lot to contemplate here," said Cynthia Wilbanks, vice president of government affairs. "There's a lot of moving parts."

Wilbanks declined to comment further on the ruling's impact and said she was still reading it.

Spokesman Rick Fitzgerald also said the university had just received a copy of the opinion. "It is an extensive ruling, with what appear to be several individual opinions. It will take some time to fully review and consider its ramifications."

George Washington, attorney for the plaintiff, the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Immigrant Rights and Fight For Equality By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), said he predicted a victory in the appeals case in June 2011 and was proven right on Thursday.

“This is a tremendous victory for black and Latino students, for the movement that fought for affirmative action, and really a tremendous victory for the entire country,” Washington said.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, who appealed an earlier ruling dismissing the ban on affirmative action, known as the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative Thursday said he'll appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"MCRI embodies the fundamental premise of what America is all about: equal opportunity under the law,” Schuette said in a statement Thursday. "Entrance to our great universities must be based upon merit. We are prepared to take the fight for quality, fairness and the rule of law to the U.S. Supreme Court."

Washington said he's confident the Supreme Court would uphold the ruling if it takes up the case.

Mark Rosenbaum, an ACLU attorney and University of Michigan professor who argued the case, said the ruling reaffirms that the political process must be open to all, MLive reported.

"It restores the argument that race is not to be disadvantaged when universities seek to enroll a diverse student body. Somewhere Lincoln and Dr. King are smiling," he said in a statement.

According to the ACLU, the number of blacks enrolled as freshmen at U-M dropped nearly 15 percent from 2006 to 2010. Black enrollment at the law school fell 28 percent from 2006 to 2011.

U-M has long been a proponent of affirmative action policies. University President Mary Sue Coleman recently stated that she is a "huge believer in affirmative action" and called it a "complete falsehood that it's a depriving qualified people of an education."

U-M advocacy of affirmative action has been taken all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which in Grutter v. Bollinger found in 2003 that U-M could work toward achieving diversity in its admissions policy, but that the school's existing policy considered race too heavily.

The school reworked its formula but hit another roadblock in 2006, when voters approved Proposal 2, which fully banned any consideration of race in admissions by Michigan's 15 public universities. Jennifer Gratz, one of the plaintiffs in the pair of lawsuits the Supreme Court ruled on in 2003, teamed up with Ward Connerly, leader of the American Civil Rights Institute, to campaign for passage of Proposal 2.

A three-judge panel of the appeals court ruled in 2011 that the ban on affirmative action was unconstitutional.

Schuette then vowed to appeal the federal ruling dismissing Proposal 2. In September, after a motion from the state of Michigan, the court of appeals said it would reconsider the decision.

But the university isn't in the clear yet: Affirmative action policies are now the subject of another case in the High Court concerning the University of Texas' admissions policy, which considers an applicant's race. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments on that case earlier this fall and Coleman's staff filed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting affirmative action polices.

The U.S. Departments of Justice and Education issued a guidance in December 2011 in support of affirmative action policies, but it is unclear how a divided Supreme Court will rule.

In dissent Thursday, Judge Danny Boggs said the majority relied on an "extreme extension" of two Supreme Court cases to justify its decision, AP reported.

"We have the citizens of the entire state establishing a principle that would in general have seemed laudable," Boggs said.

Gratz posted on Facebook about her displeasure with the ruling: “Outrageous,” she wrote. “I have never been one to back down from a fight for what I believe is right. The Michigan voters overwhelming approved the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative in 2006 and the courts, with all do [sic] respect, do not have the right to overturn the will of the people. I am committed to doing everything in my power to make sure that fairness and equality will be the rule of law in Michigan again.”

Kellie Woodhouse covers higher education for Reach her at or 734-623-4602 and follow her on twitter.

The Associated Press, reporter Kyle Feldscher and Mlive reporter David Eggert contributed to this report.


harry b

Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 3:51 a.m.

I am not sure I agree with this ruling.


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 11:23 p.m.

The problem with affirmative action in college admissions is that it does not solve the problem of inequity in K-12 schools. All children should have an equal chance to receive a high quality education. Trying to fix this at the college level is way too late and the wrong place to put on the fix.


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 12:14 p.m.

Not a single word about the court's rare use of the en banc hearing with all 15 judges hearing an appeal from a 3-member panel. Not even a link to the PDF decision. Very superficial reporting I'd say! Interested readers can find it here:


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 7:56 p.m.

I did not vote for Obama. He won by a resounding majority in the country. By him winning the election, I feel my rights are violated under the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution because I feel he will serve others better that me. Can I appeal to the 6th Circus Court to overturnl his election?


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 6:54 p.m.

So if achieving diversity is so vitally important, perhaps the university faculty would be open to enacting preferential treatment with respect to the hiring of professors with conservative viewpoints since they've been so underrepresented in academia for so long? Or is a person's skin color the only true basis for diversity at the University of Michigan?


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 8:40 p.m.

You know Ann Arbor and the U of M are one party operations. The Equal Protection Clause only applies to those whose politics are left of center.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 4:40 p.m.

So racism is bad unless your a college admissions officer?


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 3:33 p.m.

The only things that should be considered in college admissions are grades and attendance records. Creating unfair standards and advantages for minorities is unconstitutional. This means well qualified students of one race will not be accepted simply because the school needs more enrollment of another race. Equal means equal not preferential.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 3:27 p.m.

How frustrating this must be for minorities. To have the school accept you because of your race and not for your acedemics. I know you may get in for your acedemics but the question always remains.

Rork Kuick

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 1:32 p.m.

I would like help with this question: What says that a University's admissions need to be "fair"? Scientific idea might be that they should ideally be in the best interests of the citizens, and maybe that won't mean fair in any sense. It could be worth more to educate certain types of students than others - we'd need to have models about the benefit we obtain from those students. I'm not saying I agree with or understand the ruling yet.

Basic Bob

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 3 p.m.

This ruling allows for debate on an individual basis. Perhaps race-based admissions are appropriate in some places but not others. The constitutional amendment denied that possibility.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 12:51 p.m.

"All animals are created equal but some are more equal than others" George Orwell


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 12:50 p.m.

Probably preaching to the choir here, but I hope any AA supporters read this article. It is demeaning to place students in an environment where they are academically far behind their peers. This only sets them up for failure.


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 12:19 p.m.

Yes, Mr. Danziger, you're quite right. Disadvantaged kids can and do succeed at top schools, as I said clearly in my last paragraph. I didn't say that privileged kids can and do fail--perhaps I should have added that for completeness. But my point was that disadvantaged kids who are unlikely to succeed because of inadequate preparation (which may or may not have been in under their control) shouldn't be admitted so that privileged kids can experience diversity--that approach serves neither group well. The rich white and Asian kids who appear on the basis of their academic records to be unable to compete get screened out in the admissions process. Why don't we do everyone the same (admittedly backhanded) favor? I repeat: top tier schools aren't the only places a motivated and eager student can get a good education. A degree from a prestigious school is desirable, of course, but isn't graduating with a good record from a respectable school better than failing or just scraping by at a high-prestige school?

Tom Danziger

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 10:23 p.m.

@Vivian, I suppose the reason is that it is not a 100% failure rate for disadvantaged minority groups, and not 100% success rates for Whites/Asians. There's room for diversity, and given the opportunity, many minorities graduate from UM every year. Every year, the minority graduates who come from adverse situations, yet still beat the odds and graduate from a great school like UM.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 8:28 p.m.

I've had a number of struggling minority students tell me that themselves. These kids were forthright about the deficiencies of their academic preparation--at least in comparison to the preparation of many, many of the students with whom they had to compete at Michigan. Why should they have come to UM and done badly when they might have gone to a good but less prestigious school and done well? What good did that do anyone? It's an insidious form of bigotry to hold these students to lower expectations, however well meant all the specialized academic support programs are. It's vastly worse, and a terrible unkindness, to use academically unprepared minority students to broaden the experience of well-to-do kids who might otherwise not encounter very many people outside their own socioeconomic class till they hit the world beyond college. There are minority kids who can handle the competition at the top schools, and those schools should welcome them. Their success will be good for everyone--especially themselves. There are others who can't. Their failure has costs, and not for them only. Proponents of race-based admission policies seem to ignore those costs.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 12:07 p.m.

The only discrimination in education is between those who have money and those who don't! Pure Michigan/ Pure UofM!


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 3:42 p.m.

Is this age there isn't any reason to blame money for the lack of education. My graduation is this Saturday. I financed 100% of my education and books. I have a full time job so I did not receive grants or aid. I had just the plain old loans that the government offers everyone which start accruing interest from day one. If you want the higher paying jobs it will cost you a few hundred dollars a month to pay off your investment. But your effort determines the value of your education. Employers look at your courses and overall GPA. If you carry a C average it will be difficult to find a job. Hard work and sacrifice will pay off in the long run.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 11:02 a.m.

Really? Seriously? So much for democracy and letting the voters decide.

Basic Bob

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 2:55 p.m.

@a2citizen, This was not an all-inclusive list but these examples are clearly protected in every state by the US Constitution. AFAIK, your question has not been decided in a federal court.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 1:56 p.m.

@Bob: or same-sex marriage? Would it be overruled because people who did not believe in same sex marriage... "because it presents an extraordinary burden to opponents who would have to mount their own long, expensive campaign through the ballot box to protect "...(traditional marriage)..."

Joel A. Levitt

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 1:01 p.m.

Our national constitution protects minorities from abuse by the majority. Which provisions do you want to change?


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 12:53 p.m.

Well, it would mean that a majority of the voters in the state held that position. The minority would be justifiably upset if a manifestly bad amendment were adopted, but at least those who opposed the amendment would be able to launch a campaign to reverse it--they'd have a way get their position before the voters once again. When judges make the decisions, the people pretty much get left out.

Basic Bob

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 12:43 p.m.

What if voters passed a constitutional amendment to ban firearms in Michigan? Or the right to protest? Or to prevent trucks licensed in Ohio from using the roads? Seriously....

Basic Bob

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 11 a.m.

The will of the people? Sounds exactly like Selma, Alabama in 1965.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 10:36 a.m.

You can always count on the Federal Government to subvert the will ofthe people...


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 3:27 a.m.

Good googly moogly. That's all I have to say.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 3:18 a.m.

A black co worker once summed up affirmative action beautifully for me. He said, "I don't need to be best, I just need to be black."

Joel A. Levitt

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 3:05 a.m.

This ruling is a step up for Michigan. It will enable our state to educate the Michigan children who have the remarkable ambition and energy needed to overcome poverty and prejudice. Our economy can't afford to lose them.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 1:35 p.m.

Actually, I wasn't making anything up. I was just observing that a logical implication (not the only one, but the likeliest one) of any statement that begins 'Now we can do X' is 'before now, we could not do X.' Translating that to your statement, we get 'Before the banning of affirmative action was overturned, we could not educate these children. Now that the ban has been overturned, we can.' I was interested in your underlying assumption. I still am, but I don't think you want to talk about it.

Joel A. Levitt

Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 9:13 p.m.

Vivian, I thought I was clear, but maybe I wasn't. Stop making things up!


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 7:35 p.m.

You're right, Mr. Levitt--you didn't confine your remarks to UM-Ann Arbor. I stand corrected on that. But I don't quite think I understand the rest of your response to my comment.

Joel A. Levitt

Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 12:01 a.m.

No Vivian, as you know, I have written nothing of the kind. If you have responses ready for other posts, let me know what they are, and, perhaps, I will post them.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 1 p.m.

Are you saying, Mr. Levitt, that we **could not** educate those children if affirmative action were banned? That appears to be the logical implication of your statement. A further implication appears to be that only an education at UM-Ann Arbor (or its equivalent in other states and regions) counts as education, in your mind. I respectfully disagree.

Joel A. Levitt

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 12:55 p.m.

Bcar, Poor white kids who have surmounted similar obstacles have just as much to offer and deserve the same consideration. The only difference is that there has been no attempt to pass laws that deny it to them.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 11:49 a.m.

so what about the poor white kids?


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 2:26 a.m.

Once again, the will of the minority prevails.

martini man

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 1:20 a.m.

Oh yeah ..did anyome notice how the left wing stopped the comments on the CTN article when things didn't go the liberal way ???? Probably part of the affirmative action mentality.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 1:18 a.m.

If this reaches the Supreme Court, there is 100% chance of reversal.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 2:25 a.m.

Not if now liberal Justice Roberts joins the other four libs, just like Obamacare.

5c0++ H4d13y

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 1:18 a.m.

So basically any constitutional amendment is unconstitutional.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 1:14 a.m.

Here we go the courts trying to undermine the will of the people. When did equal access mean giving preferential treatment to someone just because of their race or gender? Sound like discrimination to me. Of course not all descrimination is treated equally in this country.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 2:24 p.m.

Ah, yes: some discriminations are more equal than others.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 1:14 a.m.

A lot of people commenting seem to be under the impression that affirmative action is an attempt to rectify wrongs of 150 years ago. This is not quite true. It is an attempt to level the current playing field by offering equal opportunity. Regardless of what Mr. Schuette says in the article, kids don't begin life with equal opportunity. A kid raised in an upper middle income family in Bloomfield Hills and a kid born to a single teenage mom in Detroit aren't starting out with the same opportunities. With that said, I think it's a bit late in the lives of these kids to start trying to make a difference. Maybe a focus on providing equal opportunity beginning in kindergarten would have a better outcome.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 2:19 a.m.

I guess nobody read my post. I said that affirmative action is a misguided effort to level that playing field. It is probably way too little way too late.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 1:57 a.m.

Exactly Alan, but what does that have to do with race? If affirmative action was to level the playing field between extremes in income I would be all for it, but thats not what it does. It gives students preferential treatment due to the color of their skin.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 1:23 a.m.

That was my point engineer, or at least part of it.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 1:20 a.m.

I guess I do not see the advantage of giving the kid from Bloomfield whose parents have worked their tails off to get there a disadvantage to help out a kid whose parents have made all the wrong choices. What exactly is this suppose to fix. We already have to many freeloaders because it is made too easy to get. This country was built on hard work not sticking your hand out for a gift paid for by somebody else.

martini man

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 1:12 a.m.

RACISM triumphs once again. I guess as long as you are white, racial quotas and bias doesn't apply. What a sick liberal society we have become. Even the most wimpified white liberal knows this is not right ..altho they will never be able to admit it.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 1:15 a.m.

I'm a wimpified white liberal and I admit it. See post below.

David Cahill

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 12:21 a.m., could you please post links to the opinions in this case? This article's summary seems to say that you can't beat your opponents *effectively* by putting policies into state constitutions. Although I agree with the result because I am in favor of affirmative action, nonetheless I think that the reasoning of the majority is sheer lunacy.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 1:03 a.m.

"Please David, tell us why you favor Affirmative Action? By your picture, I can tell that your a WASP." Because surely it serve no allegedly white person that more minorities be admitted to our nation's elite schools. Wow. Just wow. I thought I was living in Ann Arbor in 2012. Come to find out I'm living in Mississippi in 1956.

Angry Moderate

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 12:54 a.m.

You can tell that he's Anglo-Saxon and protestant by his picture? Really?

Michael Bow

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 12:43 a.m.

Please David, tell us why you favor Affirmative Action? By your picture, I can tell that your a WASP. You have nothing in the game anymore. How would you feel if your were qualified to attend the UofM and a non-qualified person took your spot for nothing but the color of your skin? \All the studying you did, all the reading, all the not getting drunk with your friends to have a skin color decision make more of a difference. Yup, you da man.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 11:57 p.m.

Good. All that banning affirmative action does is ignore the inherent advantages and disadvantages afforded by race and racial legacy. "As many as 15 percent of freshmen at America's top schools are white students who failed to meet their university's minimum standards for admission, according to Peter Schmidt, deputy editor of the Chronicle of Higher Education. These kids are "people with a long-standing relationship with the university," or in other words, the children of faculty, wealthy alumni and politicians. According to Schmidt, these unqualified but privileged kids are nearly twice as common on top campuses as Black and Latino students who had benefited from affirmative action."


Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : 5:23 p.m.

I'm sorry, would you like a copy of my recent college degree, or would one of the 77,852 results that come up on JSTOR when one searches for "white privilege" suffice? Here is a thesis exploring the evolution of the concept: Class is important, but racial discrimination persists in the modern world. This bias does not erase class problems. Racism exists. So does classism. They do not cancel each other out and the intersections of different oppressions are important to understand when making policy decisions.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 7:14 p.m.

@hjocque If you, yourself, would have attended college in the past decade you would have learned to check your sources thoroughly. There is not a university, college, or high school in this country that will accept a paper which cites Wikipedia as a reference. Wikipedia or anything "Wiki" is not fact checked and can be easily altered by uneducated opinions.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 12:11 p.m.

I don't believe that that's a problem at UM--children of faculty and research scientists get no boost (or so an admissions officer told me), at least officially, and I'm almost certain that the same is true of alums' children. Big donors' and politicians' kids, who knows? Whatever boost they may get, it's probably not official. Many other universities DO favor applicants with 'long-standing relationship[s].' If you object to favoring them, OK; an argument can be made. But can you then support favoring any other group, particularly a self-defined one? And why would having some small amount of, say, Cherokee blood or a genetic link to people who were enslaved 100+ years ago automatically make a potential student any more a contributor to campus diversity (as it seems to be defined) than a student with, say, Slovak or Scottish or Iranian great-grandparents? That's always been the problem for me: diversity of thought arises from something other than, or at least additional to, blood or ethnic (self-i)dentification. A policy that doesn't admit students on a case-by-case basis can hardly expect to achieve anything other than a predetermined mix of people with a set of prescribed but superficial differences. I've seen real diversity among groups containing students who all had the same skin color, and I've seen monolithic thinking from very mixed groups. I can't figure out why the University takes the position that diversity results from defining groups in superficial ways and preferentially admitting some while preferentially rejecting others. OK, well, maybe I can figure out why, but I can't figure out why the people in charge haven't observed that this approach isn't very successful. The people who voted on the issue (not all of whom are --to use a very tired term--racists) recognized it. And yes, I do know that some groups are disadvantaged. Let's put the help for those groups where it will do real good: into better education at lower levels.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 1:17 a.m.

You're almost there. What would be better is a class-based affirmative action, not one based on the color of one's skin.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 11:35 p.m.

The previous ruling by the appeals court was based on the idea that the majority cannot stack the deck in its favor. It seems the current ruling is along the same lines. I'm not a fan of race-based affirmative action, but can see the point of the above argument. Sounds like this is something for the Supreme Court to decide.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 11:32 p.m.

At first glance it appears that the Asian population may suffer the most from this decision but I'm not so sure this decision is going to be used to reduce their numbers. I'm pretty sure I can guess the target. Racial/EthicBackground......2011 U-M U.S. Population Asian............................... 13.1% 4.3% Black ............................... 4.4% 12.4% Hispanic............................ 4.3% 14.7% White/Caucasian................ 62.2% 74.1%


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 12:54 a.m.

np, ed murrows ghost, np


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 1:33 p.m.

Thanks for making my point for me. Point. Set. Match. Championship.


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 1:17 p.m.

Didn't think so.


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 11:19 a.m.

For those who can read and apply logic, already refuted in mine at 930 on 11/15. For those who cannot, no point wasting time doing it again.


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 1:52 a.m.

Which part of the article is not true? Which part did you not understand? Which part would you like to refute? Didn't think so.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 6:12 p.m.

Ahh. Wikipedia. The source of all wisdom. If it's in Wikipedia, it must be true!! Note that mine above was deleted. How dare I criticize conservatives who compare apple to oranges on august pages of the AnnArbor Snooze.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 1:44 p.m.

My argument is badly flawed? The EXACT same comparison and chart (admittedly with better formatting) is made on Wikipedia using U-M demographics vs US Census demographics, although they use a 2009. Why can the world's largest free, public information source (Wiki) publish a comparison that I cannot use? Why should the U-M be allowed to use the exact same "flawed logic" to justify enrolling minorities? In a court of law? If you don't want to take your concerns about statistics to the Board of Regents then perhaps you should focus your efforts on editing the Wikipedia article. It would be interesting to see how long your comments lasted in a Wikipedia article before they were deleted. Here is the article link for you to edit (midway down in the Student Body section):


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 3:47 a.m.

I stated the top four ethnic backgrounds for sake of brevity, not to mislead any readers. If the U-M statistics cannot be compared with US Census statistics then why are they published? And then after they are published why does the U-M intend to use them to justify enrolling minorities (that otherwise would not qualify)? Geez, I think even ed murrow would consider UM & US Census publications reliable sources on face value without having to look for some hidden in them like the "Da Vinci Code". You should probably air your grievances with the numbers to the U-M Board of Regents.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 2:33 a.m.

a2c: thanks for the lnks. Now let me explain to you what they mean. AM is correct. The census double counts many Hispanics (e.g., 60% of Hispanics are also Caucasian). Hence the # is > 100%. The um, on the other hand, does not double count (you have left off several it tracks). Those students who claim two or more ethnicities are tracked as having 2 or more. The result is that the U's # adds to 100%. So, I apologize. Your #s weren't fiction. Nope. They were just completely different #s that cannot be compared to one another, apples an oranges. So it's not fiction. You simply don't understand the #s you cite.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 2:19 a.m.

arborarmy: If you think the addition is bad, wait until the admissions standards are lowered. I am citing official U-M published statistics (and only included the top numbers). Angry Moderate is correct. Students can claim more than one race.. University of Michigan 2011 Student Factbook - Demographics Section Here is the link: US Census Statistics Here are two links:


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 2:03 a.m.

I just looked at U of M's numbers for Fall enrollment 2012 -- they are pretty similar to those a2citizen gives. 2.9 % list 2 or more races and 4.8 % are unknown.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 12:59 a.m.

Nope. Nice try. Applying that logic the UM # ought be > 100%, too. But it's not. Fiction. Pure fiction.

Angry Moderate

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 12:53 a.m.

Arborarmy: obviously, it adds up to more than 100% because people can belong to more than one race, and Hispanic people can be of any race.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 12:29 a.m.

Some very interesting numbers here. Your UM numbers add up to 84%. What racial/ethic group accounts for the other 16%? Your national numbers add up to 105.5%. How could that be? Gee. You're not makin' it up, are ya?

Chase Ingersoll

Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 11:24 p.m.

I will be waiting for Scalia to ask, "So the courts reasoning is that, laws supporting affirmative action, should be given affirmative action. We have arrived in Alice's in Wonderland. "..because it presents an extraordinary burden to opponents who would have to mount their own long, expensive campaign through the ballot box to protect affirmative action..."


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 2:54 a.m.

I think that very well may be the best way to describe this most convoluted decision. I'm open minded. I'd be willing to listen to a reasoned decision. I've not read the case and much more will come down, I'm sure as the writer said there are numerous opinions and dissents. But, that one clause is the most obtuse justification I've ever read. It's mind-boggling really. When you read tortured decisions like that you can properly conclude that the end justifies the means to the judges rendering that opinion. That came to a conclusion first and then they fabricate some new-fangled legalism to give the appearance of credibility. Just like Justice Roberts' opinion on Obamacare. First it's not a tax, then it's a tax. All in the same opinion!!!! Incredible.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 11:18 p.m.

The fact is the UM gives preferences based on skills grades, geography, LEGACY, and talents. Why would it be bad to attempt to rectify the previous 100 plus years of negative action (ie NO blacks were allowed to attend) ? There are many legacy's who may not have gotten in in the 50's because a black man had better grades. Righting a moral wrong and helping the people who had their families destroyed due to institutional racism in society is a GOOD thing.

Rod Johnson

Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 3:55 a.m.

It's my understanding that UM doesn't consider legacy status. If you know otherwise, please cite a source--my college-applying daughter would like to know.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 7:06 p.m.

@matthew "and standarized test scores (which are influenced by the ability to pay for expensive test prep courses) in admissions." These STANDARDIZED test scores are not influenced by money. They are influenced by studying. You can get the test prep software and books from any public library in the state for free. High schools also have tutors available.

Matthew Countryman

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 5:38 p.m.

UofM most certainly does consider legacy status along with quality of high school (advantaging students from private and wealthy public high schools) and standarized test scores (which are influenced by the ability to pay for expensive test prep courses) in admissions.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 3:43 p.m.

pretty sure UM doesn't consider legacy in the application process...

Ricardo Queso

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 12:42 a.m.

And how would you reply to a family that has not been here "100 years plus"? Just how much longer does this charade have to go on? Family socioeconomic standing should be the benchmark.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 10:18 p.m.

Congratulations to the Sixth Circuit for recognizing the critical importance that diversity plays in creating a thriving university culture. Universities are the "marketplace of ideas" and the more diverse the student body, the more vibrant becomes the exchange of ideas. The world and this country are changing and, as the most recent election reveals, the radical right Republicans who sponsored this proposal are insistent on living in the past.

Rose Garden

Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 5:07 a.m.

What kind of exchange of ideas goes on in medical, dental or science class?

Unusual Suspect

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 9:30 p.m.

And as long as people resist reforming education (getting rid of bad teachers, demanding that certain cultures face the fact they're not supporting their children's education at home, etc), that will never change.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 8:42 p.m.

If every student in this state received the exact same high school education, then we would not have to have affirmative action. But there are intelligent kids being educated all over the state in severely lacking school districts that should have the same chances at a UM education as the AA and Birmingham kids have.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 1:27 a.m.

I suppose you have an answer for how fewer and fewer of these radical rights as you call them are going to pay for more and more handouts for the freeloaders of this country. Just wondering!

Angry Moderate

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 12:51 a.m.

Judging a person's ability to contribute to the diversity of a community by his or her skin color is the epitome of racism.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 11:25 p.m.

I voted democrat and I'm against affirmative action, so are the majority of people in MI who voted against it. It is nothing more than reverse racism. If you cant compete with other students based solely on merit you are not cut out for UofM.

Unusual Suspect

Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 10:44 p.m.

Diversity if great. Employing racist policies to accomplish it is wrong.

Seasoned Cit

Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 9:15 p.m.

How about an investigative journalist (if one can be found) do some research and see if he/she can compile a legal cost total for the money spent appealing, and defending affirmative action in higher education cases. I'm guessing that the total will be enough to effectively run a quality school system that can educate minority students to the level that they don't need admission points based on the color of their skin.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 11:13 p.m.

Or it could run a school that would make these "qualified whites" that feel they were discriminated against get a good education. Your solution is the separate but equal solution that is illegal


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 9:14 p.m.

Affirmative Action is a racist policy an should be done away with. Hopefully the supreme court will get rid of this ridiculousness once an for all.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 4 p.m.

We can pontificate about the appeals process until the cows come home, but at the end of the day, judicial decisions are all about politics.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 4:48 a.m.

genetracy writes: "Chief Justice Roberts has seen the liberal light with his Obamacare vote and that now makes five liberals on the court." Further suggesting you're not paying attention. In light of the rest of Roberts' record, no thoughtful court-watcher, liberal or conservative or whatever, thinks Roberts' complex position in the "Obamacare" case (National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius) means he's suddenly been transformed into a "liberal". This leopard has not changed his spots. In fact, Roberts took the deeply conservative view that the Commerce Clause would not support the Affordable Care Act, joined by the three other conservative justices, and Kennedy. But -- probably to avoid the massive self-inflicted wound to the Court if it had struck down the popular ACA, following upon the appalling rulings in Citizens United (largely abolishing limitations on political contributions) and Bush v. Gore (making George Bush the president) -- Roberts sustained ACA under the Taxing Clause, a more straightforward path to that result. The Commerce clause point is actually a major victory for the conservative justices. Anyone interested in a well-informed, nuanced view of Roberts' position in the ACA case, should read Jeffrey Toobin of the New Yorker: and


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 2:35 a.m.

Chief Justice Roberts has seen the liberal light with his Obamacare vote and that now makes five liberals on the court. Besides, does anyone actually believe liberal justices Breyer, Ginsburg, Kagan, or Sotomayer would vote against any affirmative action case that would come before the court?


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 11:09 p.m.

"not with five current US supreme court justices receiving their marching orders for the white house." genetracy, What on earth do you think you mean? Putting it gently, you seem not to be paying attention. We have the most conservative Court in over a generation, which took a sharp turn rightward under CJ Roberts, and Scalia, Alito, Thomas, and sometimes Kennedy. Nobody can seriously imagine this Court (or any of its predecessors) to be taking orders from anyone, let alone whoever is the current occupant of the White House. Remember, from the viewpoint of lifetime-appointed Justices, all presidents and legislators are short-timers. These folks, who head up a constitutionally independent branch of government, don't take "marching orders", except maybe in the minds of the fringier "Conservatives".


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 10:27 p.m.

SOME PEOPLE don't know that the Courts don't take orders from the White House ? The Judiciary is independent from the Executive Branch ? As in the 3rd Branch of Government ? Unbelievable !


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 10:15 p.m.

Someone doesn't know the definition of "racist". Not at all surprising.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 9:48 p.m.

"Marching orders . . . White House"? Last time I looked, five of nine US Supreme Court US Supreme Court Justices were conservative.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 9:17 p.m.

Don't count on it, not with five current US surpreme court justices receiving their marching orders for the white house.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 9:12 p.m.

And it is coincidental this ruling comes out one week after the presidential election?

Ivor Ivorsen

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 10:56 p.m.

Let me get this straight: days after decisively winning reelection, president Obama cunningly hops into his time machine and travels back several months in time to artfully arrange an extra-marital affair that will only be revealed AFTER the election. Of course!


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 8:01 p.m.

Well Ivor, it seems strange that within a week of the election, the head of the CIA is linked to extra marital affairs as well as jeopardizing national security, the truth of the attack in Benghazi comes out, and this. What other "coincidental" bombshells will be revealed?

Ivor Ivorsen

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 4:54 p.m.

My tin-foil hat too is receiving radio waves that say "yes, this is too much of coincidence!"

Rod Johnson

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 2:56 a.m.

Um, yes.

Ricardo Queso

Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 9:12 p.m.

Constitutional law is so old school anyway.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 9:10 p.m.

So the law violates the Equal Protection Clause. Obviously the good justies are not being very equal to qualified "non-minority" students not admitted to the University because of their race and/or sex.

Angry Moderate

Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 9:05 p.m.

I don't get it. What is unconstitutional about a constitutional amendment being hard for opponents to change? That's the whole point of a ballot measure--just like the unions wanted to make the status of collective bargaining and home health workers hard to change, etc.

Angry Moderate

Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 10:32 p.m.

Ok, so all state constitutional amendments are unconstitutional, then. What's the point of having a ballot process if any successful measure is unconstitutional for being too hard to change?


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 10:42 a.m.

The Constitution protects people from the whims of the majority.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 9:02 p.m.

Opens the door for discrimination.

Kellie Woodhouse

Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 8:56 p.m.

Readers, check back to this article often. We've got several reporters and editors adding information and following leads.

Michael Bow

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 12:38 a.m.

You're devoting multiple reporters and editors to this story? Why? How in the world is the story going to change and how are more details going to come out? The voters passed it, the Supreme court turned it down. What other investigation's can you possible do?

the leprachaun

Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 8:48 p.m.

This is totally not fair for students.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 8:41 p.m.

Weren't there other comments on this story less than an hour ago?

Cindy Heflin

Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 8:51 p.m.

Hello ViSHa. We posted a very short AP article about the ruling as soon as it came out. This is a follow-up article with reporting from our higher education reporter Kellie Woodhouse. You can still find the original article with the original comments here: No quota AMOC. Just trying to bring you as much news as possible as quickly as we can.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 8:48 p.m.

That was another, almost identical story ViSHa. I guess has a quota or something.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 8:47 p.m.

yes, about a dozen comments were on this article when I originally read it about 20 minutes ago.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 8:39 p.m.

"the 2006 amendment to the Michigan Constitution is illegal because it presents an extraordinary burden to opponents who would have to mount their own long, expensive campaign through the ballot box to protect affirmative action" LOL I guess we should only have items in our Constitution that are easy to violate.

Wolf's Bane

Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 8:31 p.m.

Golly gee, didn't we vote on this before and wasn't it declared unconstitutional. You would think that would be it.