Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Conyers: Supreme Court Ruling Poses Another Obstacle to Racial Progress & Diversity

(DETROIT) – Today, the United States Supreme Court in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action,reversed the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit’s ruling and upheld Michigan Proposal 2 prohibiting affirmative action in public education, government contracting, and public employment. Today’s decision did not deal with the issue of race-conscious admissions generally, which have been previously upheld and which the court reiterated today. After the ruling, Ranking Member of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) released this statement:

U.S. Representative
John Conyers, Jr.
“Today’s decision continues a troubling line of recent Supreme Court decisions that are hostile towards our history of civil rights and our struggle for equality. It is unfortunate that this Court allowed Proposal 2 to overrun the intent of the Constitution’s equal protection clause: protecting disadvantaged minorities from discrimination,” said Conyers.

“The blatant unfairness of this approach was highlighted by the Sixth Circuit in their opinion striking down Proposal 2 stating that, while ‘sons and daughters of alumni’ and children of big donors are afforded those non-merit considerations in the admissions process, Proposal 2 would require a minority student to ‘convince the Michigan electorate to amend its constitution - an extraordinary expensive process and the most arduous of all the possible channels for change.’ Similarly, as Justice Sotomayor eloquently stated in her dissent, ‘The Constitution does not protect racial minorities from political defeat. But neither does it give the majority free rein to erect selective barriers against racial minorities.’ She wrote ‘the political process doctrine…ensure[s] that the Majority, when it wins, does so without rigging the rules of the game to ensure its success.’

Representative Conyers added, “Our nation has come a long way in seeking to end discrimination, but our work is far from complete at a time of continued under representation of minorities in higher education and many walks of life. One has to look no farther for evidence of this than the fact that there was a significant drop in minority enrollment after Proposal 2 was enacted - African-American enrollment declined by one third at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor between 2006 and 2012, at the same time overall enrollment expanded by one tenth. Now is not the time for the Court to blindly ignore the biases that continue to exist in our society.”

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