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US Court Strikes Down Mich. Affirmative Action Ban

Posted at: 11/15/2012 3:22 PM

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DETROIT (AP) - A federal appeals court has thrown out Michigan's voter-approved ban on affirmative action in college admissions and public hiring.

The court says the 2006 amendment to the Michigan Constitution is illegal because it presents an extraordinary burden to opponents who would have to mount their own long, expensive campaign to protect affirmative action.

The Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati said Thursday that the burden undermines a federal right that all citizens "have equal access to the tools of political change."

Michigan voters amended the constitution to ban the consideration of race in college admissions and government hiring. It forced the University of Michigan and other public schools to change policies.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says he'll ask the U.S. Supreme Court to look at the issue.  Schuette says entrance to public universities must be based on merit, not identity.

The winning attorney is George Washington, and he predicts the Supreme Court will take the case because two appeals courts in different parts of the country have issued different opinions on voter-approved bans on affirmative action.

Washington calls the decision in the Michigan case a "tremendous victory."

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