Update 3:00 p.m.
The Michigan Department of Civil Rights released a statement supporting the opinion of the US 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. The court struck down the Michigan constitutional ban using race or gender in university admissions decisions.
From their statement:
We believe the question of who comprises a student body is best made at the academic rather than the political level. A university’s primary responsibility is the academic interests of those students who are admitted and preparing those students for the future. This decision removes the handcuffs that prevented Michigan’s public universities from making decisions based upon those factors they believed to be in the best interests of the entire student body and the institutions as a whole.
The Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion, an advocacy group that worked to preserve affirmative action in Michigan, also praised today's court ruling.
From their statement:
The Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion today applauded the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decision striking down Michigan's anti-affirmative action constitutional amendment, with CEO and President Thomas Costello calling the decision "a clear win for access, opportunity and equity for all."
The court noted that the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, known as the "equal protection" clause, is more than just words. "It is also an assurance that the majority may not manipulate the channels of change in a manner that places unique burdens on issues of importance to racial minorities."
Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody interviewed Jennifer Gratz, the director of state initiatives for the American Civil Rights Coalition.
In 2006, Gratz was the executive director of the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative which became known as "Proposal 2" once it was put on the ballot. Proposal 2 passed and it amended the Michigan Constitution by banning the practice of using race or gender in college admissions.
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the ban unconstitutional today.
Gratz was also a lead plaintiff in a case against the University of Michigan's affirmative action policy in admissions - a case that went all the way to the Supreme Court in 2003 (Gratz v. Bollinger).
Here's the interview: