Saturday, November 17, 2012

Conyers Applauds Sixth Circuit’s Upholding Affirmative Action in Michigan

“Affirmative Action is a Vital and Active Part of our Social, Economic, and Educational Fabric”

(WASHINGTON) – Yesterday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit rejected Michigan’s ban on affirmative action in the state - Proposal 2 - which was passed by voters in 2006 as an amendment to the state constitution.  The Court found that Proposal 2 deprives minorities of equal protection of the law by creating a structural burden that minority students would have to shoulder in order to address admissions policies. Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) issued the following statement in response:

“I applaud the Sixth Circuit for rejecting the burdensome consequences of Proposal 2 and would urge the Michigan Attorney General to not further appeal the decision.  Nearly 10 years ago, in Grutter v. Bollinger, the Supreme Court found that the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of ‘equal protection of the laws’ was upheld by the University of Michigan Law School’s affirmative action policy that used race as a factor in order to achieve greater diversity in higher education.  Since that time, however, a misguided and twisted notion has been promoted about the positive impact that affirmative action policies have on admissions standards.

“Yesterday, the Sixth Circuit provided us with an accurate description of how admissions policies at Michigan Universities benefit lobbying by the sons and daughters of alumni of the University,children of donors, and permits other considerations for admissions not based on merit. The Court also rightly distinguished the effect these consideration have on race-conscious admissions policies, by illustrating how instead of lobbying the admissions committees at Michigan universities, a minority student would be required to launch a Herculean lobbying effort - ‘by convincing the Michigan electorate to amend its constitution - an extraordinary expensive process and the most arduous of all the possible channels for change.’

“Currently, the Supreme Court is considering Fisher v. University of Texas, another affirmative action case where a Abigail Fisher, a young Caucasian woman, has argued that she was denied admission to the University of Texas because of their affirmative action policy.  Notwithstanding the merits of Ms. Fisher’s case, I believe the Sixth Circuit, in rejecting Proposal 2, has provided a significant opportunity for the Supreme Court and for the country to discuss misguided notions opposing racial and ethnic considerations in higher education admissions, and to juxtapose these notions  against other non-merit considerations currently in the admissions processes of Michigan universities.”

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