Supreme Court to hear Michigan affirmative action case

The Supreme Court will now hear an affirmative action case that will affect Michigan's fifteen public universities.

After years of upholding the affirmative action policies at Michigan's public universities, the Supreme Court has added another case to it's docket that will affect the schools' policies.

The case argues the legality of a consitutional amendment passed by voters in 2006. The amendment bans the consideration of race in admissions by the fifteen public universites in Michigan.

This new Michigan case will be argued in the fall.

The dispute over affirmative action in Michigan has its roots in the 2003 Supreme Court decision that upheld the use of race as a factor in university admissions. That case concerned the University of Michigan law school.

In response to the court's 5-4 decision in that case, affirmative action opponents worked to put a ballot measure in front of voters to amend the state constitution to outlaw preferential treatment on the basis of race and other factors in education, as well as government hiring and contracting. In November 2006, 58 percent of Michigan voters approved the measure.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette asked the Supreme Court to rule on the matter.

"Entrance to our great colleges and universities must be based upon merit, and I remain optimistic moving forward in our fight for equality, fairness and rule of law at our nation's highest court," Schuette said Monday.

The justices were already considering a challenge to the University of Texas program that takes account of race, among other factors, to fill remaining spots in freshman classes. A decision in the Texas case is expected in June.