Supreme Court Upholds Ballot Measure That Harms Diversity in Public Education

Setback for civic participation and quality education

For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Candice Francis / Communications Director, LCCR / 415.543.9697 x216 /
San Francisco, CA – In a 6-2 decision today, the Supreme Court overturned a lower court and ruled that Michigan’s Proposal 2 is constitutional. Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action considered Proposal 2, a 2006 ballot initiative that led to a state constitutional ban on race-conscious college admissions policies in Michigan. The initiative is virtually identical to California’s Proposition 209, which since enactment in 1996 has resulted in a precipitous decline in minority admission and enrollment at UC schools, particularly of African American students and at UC’s flagship institutions.
“Today’s decision is a setback for democracy,” said Kimberly Thomas Rapp, Lawyers’ Committee Executive Director. “Members of the Court  were willing to let the will of the people via elections have absolute sway despite the impact this ruling will have on civic participation and the quality of education. Alumni and donors are still allowed to lobby for students they want admitted. Under this ruling, however, those advocating for race conscious admissions have effectively been silenced.”As we have seen here in California under Proposition 209, the unfortunate result is that the entire student community suffers from non-exposure to diverse views and robust debates in the classroom, labs, and lecture halls. The Lawyers’ Committee is committed to advocating for justice and equality for all in education. This year marks the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education reminding us of the barriers that would have remained were it not for the Supreme Court’s prudence in that decision. Surely we don’t want to return to a time of separate and unequal educational opportunities for the children of this nation.