July 27, 2014

Affirmative Action Ban Overturned

In an important decision for Michigan's public universities and proponents of affirmative action, the full Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has struck down Michigan's "Proposal 2."  Proposal 2 was enacted by voters in 2006 as an amendment to the Michigan constitution and banned the use of affirmative action in Michigan public university admissions decisions, public employment, and public contracting.

The Sixth Circuit found that Michigan's Proposal 2 violates the federal constitution, by denying all citizens equal access to the tools of political change. The Court reasoned that, under Proposal 2, while other groups had numerous methods by which they could petition for change to university admissions policy, persons seeking any race-based change that was lawful under the federal constitution could only do so only at the most remote level of government, by securing an amendment to the Michigan Constitution.The Court found that this inequity violated the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.

The Michigan Attorney General has stated the case will be appealed to the United States Supreme Court.  Unless overturned at that level, the Sixth Circuit decision will restore to Michigan's public universities the ability to consider race as a factor in university admissions decisions, provided they do so within the legal limitations set by federal law.

The Court of Appeals' decision will be stayed if a request for review is filed with the Supreme Court, and will remain stayed until a final decision. Higher education institutions should continue the status quo for the time being, until the 90 day time period for filing an appeal is passed or, if an appeal is filed, until a final determination by the Supreme Court.

The outcome of Fisher v University of Texas, another affirmative action case currently pending before United States Supreme Court, could also impact the meaning of this ruling for Michigan and its higher education institutions.

© 2014 Varnum LLP

About the Author

Stephanie R. Setterington, Varnum Law Firm, Labor Employment Attorney

Stephanie advises employers on a wide variety of labor and employment matters, with an emphasis on employment litigation defense and the identification and development of best practices in the area of human resources. She has worked extensively as labor and employment counsel for publicly-traded and privately-held companies that vary from single-site businesses to multi-state or global...


About the Author

John Patrick White, Varnum Law Firm, Labor Employment Attorney

Pat White's practice concentrates on the full spectrum of civil rights issues, race and gender disability matters, free speech and electronic privacy issues in the workplace. In addition to litigation, he also does traditional labor work, including negotiation and arbitration, both for public and private sector clients. He also maintains expertise in education law, representing school districts, community colleges and colleges and universities, both with respect to employment issues as well...


Boost: AJAX core statistics

Legal Disclaimer

You are responsible for reading, understanding and agreeing to the National Law Review's (NLR’s) and the National Law Forum LLC's  Terms of Use and Privacy Policy before using the National Law Review website. The National Law Review is a free to use, no-log in database of legal and business articles. The content and links on are intended for general information purposes only. Any legal analysis, legislative updates or other content and links should not be construed as legal or professional advice or a substitute for such advice. No attorney-client or confidential relationship is formed by the transmission of information between you and the National Law Review website or any of the law firms, attorneys or other professionals or organizations who include content on the National Law Review website. If you require legal or professional advice, kindly contact an attorney or other suitable professional advisor.  

Some states have laws and ethical rules regarding solicitation and advertisement practices by attorneys and/or other professionals. The National Law Review is not a law firm nor is  intended to be  a referral service for attorneys and/or other professionals. The NLR does not wish, nor does it intend, to solicit the business of anyone or to refer anyone to an attorney or other professional.  NLR does not answer legal questions nor will we refer you to an attorney or other professional if you request such information from us. 

Under certain state laws the following statements may be required on this website and we have included them in order to be in full compliance with these rules. The choice of a lawyer or other professional is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. Attorney Advertising Notice: Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Statement in compliance with Texas Rules of Professional Conduct. Unless otherwise noted, attorneys are not certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, nor can NLR attest to the accuracy of any notation of Legal Specialization or other Professional Credentials.

The National Law Review - National Law Forum LLC 4700 Gilbert Ave. Suite 47 #230 Western Springs, IL 60558  Telephone  (708) 357-3317 If you would ike to contact us via email please click here.