July 1st, 2011
04:31 PM ET

Michigan ban on considering race in college admissions struck down

A divided federal appeals court has struck down Michigan's ban on consideration of race and gender in college admissions.

The issue is likely to renew the national political and legal debate over affirmative action, which the Supreme Court could be poised to resolve in coming months.

The 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Friday concluded in a 2-1 ruling that the voter-approved ban on "preferential treatment" at state colleges and universities was unconstitutional, and "alters Michigan's political structure by impermissibly burdening racial minorities."

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Filed under: Civil Rights • Education • Michigan
soundoff (453 Responses)
  1. Travis

    I am a Michigan resident who applied to the University of Michigan back in 1998 when they were still using the "point system" to determine admissions. Basically, what this meant was that an applicant received a certain number of points based on their GPA, test scores, extracurricular activities, home town, family income, etc...and also ethnic background. I had a 3.6 GPA (out of 4.0), scored a 28 on the ACT, I was involved various extracurricular activities (marching band, NHS, football team, volunteer work, etc), I lived in an under-represented region of the state (which was to my benefit concerning admissions), my parents were working-class, and I am white (non-Hispanic). I was ultimately put on the wait list, which means that I would be accepted if others were to decline admission. Eventually, I was rejected. I'm convinced that, considering how close I was to being accepted, I would have been had I been a minority. This is just speculation on my part, but I can't help but wonder if it's true.

    July 1, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • White People are dumb

      or maybe someone with a 4.0 beat you?

      Silly silly white people. Always looking to blame minorities for their failures and shortcomings.

      July 1, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Charles

      White people are looking to blame minorities for their failures??? Isn't that why affirmative action started? Because blacks blamed their failures/shortcomings on whites?

      July 1, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • foxvalleybiz

      The point is he shouldn't have to wonder. Ethnic background plays no role in admissions, in getting a job, etc. Are you really going to tell me it should be a consideration? How about someone's age? Why not bring that into the equation too?

      July 1, 2011 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Nobody

    This is the court saying that non-whites are not as smart or capable as white people and so they need to get preferential treatment. I think that is insulting.

    July 1, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • J. Morrison

      The courts are saying that white applicants are more privileged than other applicants. That's it. Nothing more.

      July 1, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • drosera

      It says no such thing. Minorities are disadvantaged because they did not get the advantages whites and Asians got: an upbringing free of poverty and all that goes with it. That poverty came about in part because of racial discrimination in hiring, in getting loans, in making appropriate social contacts, in getting training and in getting promotions.

      July 1, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • War919

      So, what about the poor white people? Why are they poor? If poverty is the result of racism, how do white people become poor?

      July 1, 2011 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • War919

      Also, are you saying that Asians are not a minority? Or are you saying that that particular minority is not discriminated against?

      July 1, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  3. john S

    CNN likes to Censor Comments , forget about FREE SPEECH her

    July 1, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  4. abc

    So, what they aresaying is that minorities need help to be on the same level with white people. Doesn't that sound insulting to minorities that the judges don't think that minorities aresmart enough to compete o ntheir own?

    July 1, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • J. Morrison

      Dear 'abc', please learn how to correctly use the space bar on your computer keyboard. It's the long one at the bottom. You're welcome.

      July 1, 2011 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dani

      Hmmmm... No, I think it's saying that despite the fact that a minority might outperform a white on every level, the U.S. is still so racist that they would deny the minority the opportunity for advancement. Don't believe that racism is alive and well because we have an African American president? Look at some of the comments on this page

      July 1, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • skarrlette

      Historically when a college admission officer gets a application with equal credentials and one is white and the other is black. They choose the while candidate. That is why affirmative action exists.

      July 1, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • cb

      Regretfully, some schools do not prepare students as well academically. 12 years of lacking education will take a toll.

      July 1, 2011 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Skarrlette: Then maybe we should not have "race" on the application form. College admissions should be based on grades, GPA, extracurricular activities, merit, etc. NOT race.

      July 1, 2011 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mogen

    No guessing necessary. That's been demonstrated over and over again, and will be demonstrated again endlessly.

    Not that it will mean much to those who are hell-bent on pushing their fantasies on the rest of us.

    July 1, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Paul C

    Home much longer are we going to look at minorities like a handicapped person?? Why should thinks be easier for you because of the color of your skin. Its COMPLETE racisim. Being a single white male is worst thing to be. There are programs and help for everyone else, just not you...

    July 1, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • J. Morrison

      How long? Until minorities are not trailed by security guards in stores because of the color of their skin. Until minorities are not pulled over 80% more frequently by the police when driving through 'white' suburbs. Until white people start learning to use their privilege to serve others instead of themselves. That's how long, Paul C.

      July 1, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dani

      That's right, J.

      July 1, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • War919

      You confuse race with poverty. Those same guards will follow around a trailer park trash white person all day too. Sorry that you can only see the suffering of minorities, but the suffering belongs to all of the poor, and you are off base if you think that only minorities are poor.

      July 1, 2011 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
  7. CA

    So does this mean that in 10 years or however long it is till whites are no longer the "majority" in the US, that white college applicants can be given preference simply because they're white? Technically, they will be the "minority" right? I highly doubt that would go over well...

    July 1, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cedar Rapids

      I believe the demographics show whites to be 72% of the population.
      How long do you think it will be before they drop to be come a minority?

      July 1, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • UCFKnightman

      Actually, Caucasians are the minority worldwide...(shrug).

      Yes, this is preferential treatment because of race, there for it is "sympathetic racism". We have a minority as president, to me, that immediately antiquates affirmative action.

      July 1, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cedar Rapids

      'We have a minority as president, to me, that immediately antiquates affirmative action.'

      one swallow does not a summer make.

      July 1, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • drosera

      You don't get it. Affirmative action "makes up for" discrimination in society. There is a reason blacks tend to be poorer than whites. Do you remember slavery? Upon the end of the Civil War, NO help was offered to freed slaves. Then, extending throughout Jim Crow, blacks were actively kept down by a white majority. Affirmative action is one small effort to make up for mistreatment that goes back two or three centuries. Whites did not go through that experience and, even if they made up a minority, should not get preferential treatment. You have to look at history before you offer help to minorities.

      July 1, 2011 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • CA

      drosera – no I don't remember slavery because I WASN'T AROUND. Neither was anyone else currently living so why are we trying to "make up for" something that didn't happen to the current population? The lack of opportunity 200 years ago no longer exists. Perhaps affirmative action made sense even 50 years ago when civil rights laws were finally enacted to ensure all citizens were treated equally but now, almost two generations later, it just doesn't make sense to admit or deny someone admission to college based on race. Admissions, in addition to job promotions, appointments, etc. should be based on qualifications and ability, not flesh tone. I think it's also worth remembering that Clarence Thomas – the only African-American currently serving on the Supreme Court – has advocated quite strongly AGAINST affirmative action. It sounds good in theory, but in practice it's ineffective.

      July 1, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • MP from CT

      CA,

      Affirmative action is for CURRENT racism not for the effects of a multi-century-old slave trade. Blame the media not your ancestors.

      July 1, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • War919

      drosera, you do yourself and history of disservice if you think that whites have not suffered through history. Do you really think that all white people have been wealthy? Do you know nothing of the history of Europe? Perhaps you missed the whole Egyptian empire era; or the years of the Roman empire. Ever hear of Persia? The Ottoman empire? Do yourself a favor, read a book other than one designed to make people in this day and age feel guilty for actions in which they took no part. Nobody in this world has a monopoly on sorrow.

      July 1, 2011 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Terry

    Most of the people commenting on this story seem to be white. I wonder if they will be saying the same thing if all universities were filled with Asians and they could not get in. Universities are place where ideas are exchanged and knowledge is transferred. If the entire population was from one race or culture what is the value of that education. There are thing that can only be learned from people not like yourself.

    July 1, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kat

      if the asians are smarter, then they deserve the slot, and others need to RISE TO THE LEVEL OF WHAT THEY ARE DOING.

      July 1, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • CA

      True but this there are other ways someone can be "not like yourself" besides just race. Plus, it's worth noting that Clarence Thomas – the only African-American judge on the Supreme Court right now – has advocated very strongly against affirmative action.

      July 1, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • JD

      The point is not that these respondents think whites should have an advantage. The point is that for a society to truly be equal and free then no group can have an advantage under the law over another because of race. To say that race, color of skin etc should be a consideration in selection is racist. Period. Everyone should have to compete equally based on merit otherwise where does it end. Eliminate anything in the application that intimates race and you start moving towards an equal society. Saying it alters the political lanscape or any other reason is a red herring. Its racist. Before you claim I am a "white guy" let me say that I am in fact a Lower Muscogee Creek Indian and I want me and my kids judged on merit and performance not our race.

      July 1, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • White Guy

      Nobody is asking to give whites or asians preferential treatment, the bill was to completely exclude race and gender from consideration process, allowing universities to accept only those students that deserve to be there, rather then filling their federal requirements for diversity with under-qualified individuals (white or not). And my school is filled with asians, over 50 percent of it, and I have absolutely no issue, they are there because they work hard and because they deserve to be there.

      July 1, 2011 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dani

      Clarence Thomas is not an African American. He's a disgrace to his own people, we don't claim him.

      July 1, 2011 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Will

      Asian is not in minority group. Somehow, most of people perceive that way. SAD...........

      July 1, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • War919

      Wow Dani, a member of your race makes it to a position of preeminence and power in our society, and you call him a disgrace? I suppose if he were a rapper who advocated the objectification of women, you would love him, right? Ridiculous.

      July 1, 2011 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • War919

      Will, How are Asians not a minority?

      July 1, 2011 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
  9. john S

    Mexican Women pushing a baby stroller.....

    July 1, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Latrice

    I hate having this discussion because people never usually get it; they just see it as whites (the majority) being discriminated against and that isn't so. Why was that law put into place in the first place and why would a whole state vote to ban it? Are there that many minorities in Michigan getting ahead at the expense of whites? Each of those questions are ones that I do not have a definitive answer to, but I will say that if a student is sub-par he won't– and shouldn't–get in at the expense of a better student, and hopefully most people see that's how it works. I think that this has less to do with color and more to do with money...How much you make generally dictates where you live and where you live dictates where you go to school and so on and so forth. The original intent of affirmative action was to level that playing field since minorities were usually the ones at the short end of that stick. I suspect however that no one here will see that and will continue to race bash and insist that they are getting the short end of the stick, since their C average didn't get them into school over the Black or Latino kid with the A average. Smh.

    July 1, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jeff

    Africa for the Africans

    Asia for the Asians

    White countries for everbody

    It's genocide

    July 1, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • J. Morrison

      And where did your family come from, Jeff. Or, excuse me, are you Native American? Wherever you're from, then you should go there, right? Bye.

      July 1, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • nojustice

      You do not have a country, you stole it remember. Go back to Europe!

      July 1, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dani

      You're right about that Jeff, I wish you send all of my ancestors back to the West Indies and Africa where you kidnapped us from. Just make sure we can take back all the things we invented for you and we would like repayment for all those years we worked for you for free. Yours truly, the African Americans

      July 1, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • jeff

      LOL

      There is no such thing as "native americans" people don't grow out of the ground. The americans indian tribes walked here from Asia, killed the people who were already here and settled on the land. Every group in the world has ancestors that moved to the land they now inhabit from somwhere else but you anti-whites ONLY say that us whites should give away our children's countries becuase of it. The USA is for "ourselves and our posterity" not Chinese and Chinese posterity and not Mexicans and Mexican posterity.

      Stop being anti-white.

      July 1, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • War919

      Sorry Dani, but nobody was kidnapped from Africa. You see, one tribe went to war with another tribe and the winner took the loser's women and children and then sold the men into slavery. Blame the tribe that kicked your tribe's *ss. Blame your tribe for their inability to effectively wage war. Blame whoever you want, but do not try to paint the picture as something other than it was. Slavery was not born from white people running around Africa with nets, sorry to break it to you.

      July 1, 2011 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  12. D.Tree

    Amazing how many people firmly believe there is no such thing as racism anymore.

    Even more amazing, are those who believe that trying to end racism... equals racism itself.

    Go figure.

    July 1, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  13. skarrlette

    The reason for affirmative action is because whites in positions of authority and power choose whites over the other ethnicities even when they have equal backgrounds and its not going to change unless forced by law. They can't be trusted that has been proven before, and they can't be trusted now. So therefore its needed

    July 1, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • UCFKnightman

      This is woefully incorrect now.

      July 1, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • White Guy

      not true, the motion was to exclude race from consideration, meaning that those white in position of authority wouldnt know if the candidate was white or not

      July 1, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  14. farleyjc

    Affirmative action doesn't benefit anyone of any race and as a nation is terribly detrimental. Just another example of the government sticking it's nose where it doesn't belong. White, black, yellow....let me hire the best person for the job / school and not be concerned about quotas.

    July 1, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  15. NGN

    Schools should be forced to admit everyone who is qualified or else hold a lottery.

    July 1, 2011 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
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