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The decision could lead more states to enact bans against race preferences in university admissions, but it does not affect university affirmative action programs in other states.
Apr. 22 2014
The Supreme Court dealt another blow to affirmative action programs Tuesday, upholding the right of states to ban racial preferences in university admissions.
The 6-2 decision came in a case brought by Michigan, where a voter-approved initiative banning affirmative action had been tied up in court for a decade.
Seven other states — California, Florida, Washington, Arizona, Nebraska, Oklahoma and New Hampshire – have similar bans. Now, others may follow suit.
But the ruling, which was expected after the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the Michigan law, did not jeopardize the wide use of racial preferences in many of the 42 states without bans. Such affirmative action programs were upheld, though subjected to increased scrutiny, in the high court’s June ruling involving the University of Texas.
"This case is not about how the debate (over racial preferences) should be resolved," Justice Anthony Kennedy said in announcing the ruling. But to stop Michigan voters from making their own decision on affirmative action would be "an unprecedented restriction on a fundamental right held by all in common."
Justice Sonia Sotomayor read a summary of her lengthy, 58-page dissent from the bench, in which Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg joined. She said the decision creates “a two-tiered system of political change” by requiring only race-based proposals to surmount the state Constitution, while all other proposals can go to school boards.
As a result of the ruling, said Sotomayor, a product of affirmative action policies, minority enrollment will decline at Michigan’s public universities, just as it has in California and elsewhere. “The numbers do not lie,” she said.
The decision was splintered, with Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito joining Kennedy’s opinion; Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas concurring in a separate opinion; and Justice Stephen Breyer, more often aligned with the court’s liberal wing, concurring in yet another opinion.
Justice Elena Kagan recused herself from the case, presumably because of a conflict of interest from her time as U.S. solicitor general.
The decision in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action comes 10 years after two seminal Supreme Court rulings out of the University of Michigan. One struck down the undergraduate school’s use of a point system that included race to guide admissions. The other upheld the law school’s consideration of race among many other factors.
Immediately after the law school ruling, opponents of racial preferences set to work on a state constitutional amendment that said Michigan “shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or natural origin.” Voters approved it by a 58%-42% margin in November 2006.
A federal district court upheld the initiative, but a sharply divided appeals court ruled that it violated minorities’ equal protection rights under the Constitution.
The writing appeared to be on the wall at the Supreme Court, based on the influence of Roberts, an opponent of racial preferences who famously wrote in another case several years ago that “the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”
But in this case, Kennedy was the man to watch. He wrote the court’s 1996 Romer v. Evans opinion striking down a Colorado referendum that banned local governments from enacting gay rights laws. Yet he had been less enthusiastic about the use of racial preferences in several recent cases.
Opponents of the Michigan law called it a form of “political restructuring” that stops minorities from seeking admission to a university the same way an athlete or legacy applicant can. Instead, they said in an argument that Sotomayor and Ginsburg endorsed, minorities had to change the state Constitution.
In striking down the ban, the 6th Circuit cited the Supreme Court’s 1969 and 1982 rulings in cases from Akron and Seattle. In those cases, the high court struck down voter-approved initiatives that had blocked the cities’ pro-minority housing and school busing policies.
But Kennedy said the appeals court misread those earlier rulings. In the new Michigan case, he said, the paramount concern is the right of citizens to deliberate, debate and act — in this case, through a constitutional amendment.
The debate has practical as well as legal implications. In Michigan and California particularly, the bans have reduced black and Hispanic enrollments at elite universities and at law, medical and professional schools. The percentages of African Americans among entering freshmen at the University of California-Berkeley, UCLA and the University of Michigan were the lowest among the nation’s top universities in 2011.
During oral arguments in October, Michigan solicitor general John Bursch disputed the validity of those statistics. He said changes in 2010 that allowed students to check more than one racial box skewed the figures.
While Michigan’s argument focused on equal rights for white and minority students, some conservative scholars go further. They say doing away with affirmative action gives minority students a better chance of succeeding at less competitive schools.
EVERY SINGLE CIVIL RIGHTS LEGISLATION IS BEING GUTTED!!!!!!!!!!
WTF WHITE PEOPLE?
YOU BENEFIT THE MOST FROM AA
So I just got back last night from a brony convention in San Francisco. I was working a booth for a vendor friend, and let me tell you what happened:
We met a little girl who was there with her family. She got a button drawn at our booth, told us all about her favorite ponies, and was overall just too damn cute. She had an MLP lanyard filled with pins she’d gotten in the vendor’s room, and gave me a Fluttershy pin because she liked my cosplay. She ended up just hanging out with us for a while and bein’ super cute. We call her Babby because she’s 11 and precious.
The next day, she runs up to the booth, terrified, and asks if she can please hide under our table for a few minutes. Turns out a dude had been following her around the con all day, and tried to get her to come up to his hotel room. Alone. She tells us she thought he was okay at first because he was wearing an MLP shirt, but she didn’t want to go anywhere with him, and he made her uneasy. At one point, after she’d refused, he grabbed her arm in the elevators and tried to get her to follow him. She ran, and now she wants somewhere to hide.
We tell her of course, hurry her behind our booth and fucking station ourselves around her because she’s eleven years old and all of us are prepared to physically attack the human trashheap who tries to fuck with her. We’re all dressed up in wings and ears and we’re 100000% prepared to rip them off and launch across that table to defend this kid. Eventually this very large dude strolls by, very obviously looking around, and she quietly points him out to us. At this point I’m ready to set him on fire, but when I ask if she needs me to go report him, she shakes her head. She doesn’t want to get in trouble, or make anyone mad.
We see him a few more times over the course of the day, because he keeps meandering over to our booth and just casually looking around. Eventually he actually stops to take a flier from our table and asks us a question, and we coldly send him on his way. We start sending a coworker with Babby whenever her parents aren’t around and she wants to go check out artist’s alley or the vendor’s hall. Because otherwise she’s not safe. She can’t run around and freely enjoy a convention about a show aimed at her, because instead of being surrounded by peers she’s somehow surrounded by men who pose a threat to her.
My point here: this is why I fucking hate “bronies.” Because grown-ass men are flooding into a space carved out for children—often little girls—and are making it unsafe for them.
I met a lot of non-awful people there, of course. I met a lot of parents and older siblings. A lot of adorable little boys who were happy to empathize with female characters, and a lot of little kids who wanted a picture with cosplays of their favorite pony. I met a lot of people who were cool and nice and just liked cartoons. I met a male Pinkie Pie cosplayer with a Fluttershy lady-friend who juggled and spun plates and was happy to entertain kids, and were generally just really cool people.
But I also met a lot of skeevy dudebros. A lot of guys in fedoras loudly discussing sexual shit in a room with children. Guys who drew/sold/displayed really fucking inappropriate “fanart,” including gross bodypillows that had no purpose in a little kids’ toy convention. I met a guy who gushed with absolute glee about the pleasure he derives from “corrupting innocence.” I met a lot of people who wanted to take something sweet and nice for children and make it about THEM. A lot of guys who wanted to make it about their dicks. People who made it UNSAFE for the intended audience to even be in attendance.
So yeah. If you call yourself a brony, I’m prolly not gonna trust you. Because I’ve seen y’all in action, and I am not impressed. Frankly I’m infuriated. This is like a bunch of gross neckbeards swarming Disneyland and shoving kids out of the way so they can grope Cinderella, and finding nothing wrong with it because they think they’re entitled to it.
My Little Pony is a really cute show with a lot of nice messages for kids, and gross brony shitweasels are trying to fucking take it from them by force. And I will fight them.
1. Single moms are the problem. Only 9 percent of low-income, urban moms have been single throughout their child’s first five years. Thirty-five percent were married to, or in a relationship with, the child’s father for that entire time.
2. Absent dads are the problem. Sixty percent of low-income dads see at least one of their children daily. Another 16 percent see their children weekly.
3. Black dads are the problem. Among men who don’t live with their children, black fathers are more likely than white or Hispanic dads to have a daily presence in their kids’ lives.
4. Poor people are lazy. In 2004, there was at least one adult with a job in 60 percent of families on food stamps that had both kids and a nondisabled, working-age adult.
5. If you’re not officially poor, you’re doing okay. The federal poverty line for a family of two parents and two children in 2012 was $23,283. Basic needs cost at least twice that in 615 of America’s cities and regions.
6. Go to college, get out of poverty. In 2012, about 1.1 million people who made less than $25,000 a year, worked full time, and were heads of household had a bachelor’s degree.
7. We’re winning the war on poverty. The number of households with children living on less than $2 a day per person has grown 160 percent since 1996, to 1.65 million families in 2011.
8. The days of old ladies eating cat food are over. The share of elderly single women living in extreme poverty jumped 31 percent from 2011 to 2012.
9. The homeless are drunk street people. One in 45 kids in the United States experiences homelessness each year. In New York City alone, 22,000 children are homeless.
10. Handouts are bankrupting us. In 2012, total welfare funding was 0.47 percent of the federal budget.