Posted by: bridget | 19 December 2006

Michigan Approves Affirmative Action Vote

Michigan has passed an affirmative action ban that would prohibit preferntial treatment of minorities and women in state college admissions, financial aid, and in the award of state contracts. 

Pending the consent of a district court judge, the ban will be delayed so that the state universities can finish the admissions cycle for Fall 2007 using the pre-ban standards.

Groups have vowed to fight the ban as unconstitutional.  The pachyderm gives an elephant snort to the idea that this is prohibited by the Equal Protection Clause.  “Preferential treatment” is prohibited, which means that the state will be required to grant its citizens equal protection of the laws.  The UMich Law School use of affirmative action was upheld on the narrow rationale of “academic freedom.”  Surely, the state (and its voters) have a right to tell the university, whose funds are derived from it, how to operate.  The only time that this could be unconstitutional is if “preferential treatment” were read to encompass “equal treatment.”  In that case, the law itself is facially valid but invalid only in application.

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