Supreme Court Urged to Pass Up University Affirmative Action Cases

Supreme Court Urged to Pass Up University Affirmative Action Cases


The University of Michigan has asked the Supreme Court to stay out of a dispute over its affirmative action admissions policies.

The high court will decide in coming months whether to revisit a 1978 decision that let schools consider race in admissions. Two cases are pending at the Supreme Court against Michigan, one involving its law school policies and a second challenging its undergraduate admissions.

Maureen E. Mahoney, a lawyer for the university, told the court in a filing last month that if the 1978 ruling is overturned, it “would produce the immediate resegregation of many — and perhaps most — of this nation’s finest and most selective institutions.”

Michigan’s law school policies were upheld by a federal appeals court earlier this year, and a rejected White student appealed to the Supreme Court (see Black Issues, June 6). The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has not ruled yet in the companion case addressing the undergraduate policy, but challengers appealed to the Supreme Court anyway.

The cases ask the court to explore what role race may play in determining college enrollment.

“We’re urging the court not to turn back the clock on our ability to assemble a diverse student body,” says Dr. Mary Sue Coleman, the college’s president.

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