Court strikes down Michigan’s affirmative action ban

U.S. Court: Affirmative Action ban unconstitutional

Affirmative action is an attempt to promote equal opportunity. It is often instituted in government and educational settings to ensure that minority groups within a society are included in all programs. The justification for affirmative action is to allegedly compensate for past discrimination, persecution or exploitation by the ruling class of a culture, and to address existing discrimination. The implementation of affirmative action, especially in the United States, is justified by disparate impact.

affirmative action

I have mixed feelings about affirmative action.  On one hand I believe that everyone, regardless of race or gender, is entitled to a fair break.  On the other hand I don’t believe that the rest of the people should have to give up their shot at the golden ticket.  As I understand it, if a black woman applies for college admission she will be admitted over a white woman who may be more qualified.  I don’t call this affirmative action, I call it discrimination, which I despise in all forms, including this one.

Here’s more on this latest ruling:

(NEWSER) A federal appeals court today struck down Michigan’s ban on the consideration of race and gender in college admissions, saying it burdens minorities and violates the Constitution. The 2-1 decision upends a sweeping law that forced the University of Michigan and other public schools to change admission policies. The 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals said the law, approved by voters in 2006, violates the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. Michigan pledged to appeal, and the case could end up in the Supreme Court.

The court mostly was concerned about how the affirmative action ban was created. Because it was passed as an amendment to the state constitution, it can only be changed with another statewide vote. This places a big burden on minorities who object to it, said judges R. Guy Cole Jr. and Martha Craig Daughtrey. The ban’s supporters could have chosen “less onerous avenues to effect political change,” they wrote.

I am interested in what you think about this latest ruling by the federal court.  Do you agree that affirmative action is fair to all concerned?

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Posted by on July 1, 2011. Filed under Commentary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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4 Responses to Court strikes down Michigan’s affirmative action ban

  1. Mycue

    July 1, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    Affirmative action is an attempt to right the wrongs of hundreds of years of discrimination. It is certainly an imperfect solution. However, the fact is that the right skin color gives you an advantage that is hard to quantify. I always point to a comedy bit by Chris Rock where he basically said that there wasn’t a white person in the room who would switch places with him (and he was rich). Two wrongs certainly don’t make a right, but the attempt to give those who would otherwise be denied an opportunity (and those who have been historically denied an opportunity) is a noble goal. There is no perfect way to apply affirmative action, and I certainly don’t agree with opportunities being given at the expense of denying another their chance. However, just walk a mile in the shoes of someone who can’t get a cab, or is constantly followed when they walk into a store, or has women cross the street to avoid them, or has been passed over for a job by a less qualified white candidate, and you begin to think that affirmative action (even with all it’s faults) doesn’t sound like such a bad deal after all.

    • Barton

      July 1, 2011 at 7:00 pm

      I despise discrimination in all forms also, but I don’t think it’s right that everybody in America has to suffer for what happened decades ago. Sure there is still racism but not everyone should be punished for the actions of a few. Affirmative action is racist and discriminatory and needs to be eliminated.

      • Mycue

        July 1, 2011 at 8:00 pm

        Barton,
        Despising discrimination does nothing to help those who suffer from it. I think it is more than overstatement to say that “everybody in America” is suffering because of Affirmative Action. Affirmative Action, while imperfect, is a necessary tool to combat the discrimination that still takes place on a daily basis. When we live in a society that is completely color blind, then there will be no need to try and level the playing field.
        And Bill, AA does give some qualified applicants a chance that they otherwise would not have. However, when it comes to college applications, there are a lot of factors that go into admissions, such as whether your parents attended the college or how big a donation your family made to the alumni association. Do you think those factors should make a difference? Well the fact is that they do. How exactly is a first generation applicant supposed to compete with that? AA does not elevate the unqualified to positions that they do not deserve. In its best application, it tries to put qualified candidates on an equal footing with those who may have had substantial benefits that were unavailable to the minority candidate. That is the mission of AA, to level the playing field. I admit that it doesn’t always work that way (and in fact, seldom does), but even with its inherent flaws, it is an attempt to right the wrongs of the past (and frankly those that still going on).
        Unless there is an admission that skin color is a factor in American society (for a variety of reasons, not just racism), then there really isn’t a conversation or discussion to be had about Affirmative Action.

  2. greenlight

    July 2, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    You mention the typical justifications for affirmative action, but in higher ed. it’s been argued for a different reason as well–because there is value to be found, the argument goes, from the presence of those with diverse backgrounds on a college campus. I’m inclined to agree.

    When I hear whites argue against affirmative action, it’s often because 1) they’re sick of the victim mentality of blacks, who they feel need to “get over what’s in the past,” and 2) they think they will be, or have, lost out on jobs that they are qualified for because they are up against black applicants.

    I’ve heard a lot of these arguments in the town where I grew up–a lot of people are insistent that they’ve been bypassed for jobs because of affirmative action. I just looked up the statistics–only 1.4% of the population in this town is black, and even among those small numbers, there’s a high rate of unemployment. Tell me again how it’s the blacks that are “taking all the jobs,” and how it’s the blacks that have a “victim mentality”?

    People need to get over their own sense of entitlement. Affirmative action does not hand out jobs to unqualified individuals, nor does it result in the bypassing of the most highly qualified non-minorities. If we were willing to truly provide all of our citizens with an even playing field by restructuring the funding of our public schools and providing proper academic support at that level, we wouldn’t need affirmative action. Until that happens, we’re stuck trying to trip over ourselves with token programs like affirmative action to try to make it look like we almost give a sh*t, even as we continue to carry out policies that perpetuate inequality. Sigh.