Supreme Court agrees to hear Michigan's affirmative action case


The US Supreme Court is seen in Washington, DC, June 18, 2012. The highest court in the US is set to consider a new affirmative action case from Michigan about the use of race in college admissions.



The US Supreme Court has agreed to hear another case on affirmative action, taking up Michigan's efforts to ban the use of race in college admissions.

It will be the second major affirmative action case to make it to the high court's docket.

The justices are already considering the case of Abigail Fisher, a white student from Texas who claimed she was rejected from the state's university system in favor of less qualified minority applicants.

That case was argued in October, and a decision is expected this spring or summer.

More from GlobalPost: Supreme Court hears landmark Texas affirmative action case

The Michigan case stems from a voter-approved amendment that banned the use of race as a factor in determining college admissions.

Voters approved the measure by 58 percent in 2006.

A divided appeals court struck down the amendment on an 8-7 vote. According to the Wall Street Journal, the court’s majority said the Michigan amendment was unconstitutional because it altered the state’s political structure and impermissibly burdened racial minorities.

That burden "undermines the Equal Protection Clause's guarantee that all citizens ought to have equal access to the tools of political change," the court said.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette asked the Supreme Court to review the 6th Circuit's ruling.

"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 told AP Monday.

The decision to take up a second major affirmative action case may signal the court is looking to make a broader ruling, Carl Tobias, a professor at the University of Richmond School of Law told the Detroit Free Press.

"This could be a much broader ruling if the court were to decide that the (Michigan) ban was constitutional," Tobias said.

If banning a race-conscious admissions policy was found to be constitutional, he said, “It would change the landscape substantially."

The Michigan case is Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, 12-682.