A Decision That Could See The U.S. Supreme Court - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

A Decision That Could See The U.S. Supreme Court

It was a close decision, but with an 8 to 7 vote, the 6th circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Michigan's Civil Rights Initiative is unconstitutional.

That means universities across the state can now factor in race as part of their criteria for enrollment.

This all starts back with 2006, when the voters decided by 58 percent to amend the constitution, banning the consideration of race in college admissions.

Thursday's ruling says that amendment is illegal because it presents problems for groups that protect affirmative action.

It's a decision that has many questioning it's impact and validity.

One vote has now given admission boards the power to change who is allowed to walk across their college campus.

"The decision restored some measure of equality to the state of Michigan," ACLU Legal Expert Michael Steinberg.

Michael Steinberg, a legal expert from the ACLU says throwing out the ban on affirmative action is a landmark decision, because it will allow all students to get an education.

"Learning experiences enhance when they are surrounded by people from different backgrounds, cultures, races and religion," Steinberg said.

The University of Michigan has given up affirmative action since 2006 when the ban was in place.

As a result, they witnessed a 15% decline in African American enrollment, something this ruling could now change.

Michigan State University Spokesperson Kent Cassela said they are, "Reviewing the court's opinion to determine its effect on the university."

The Attorney General's office says the ruling is anything but fair.

"It defies common sense, what the 6th circuit said was when you treat everyone equally, like we do here in Michigan, you're actually being discriminatory and violating the U.S. Constitution," said Spokesperson Joy Yearout.

As a result Attorney General Bill Schuette intends to fight this head on.

"Attorney General Schuette is going to be defending their position and their will, before the Supreme Court, to make sure every student is treated equally," Yearout said.

And determining what is truly equal may ultimately be left to the highest court in the country.

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