Supreme Court Decision: Affirmative Action Principles Upheld

Supreme Court Upholds Michigan Law School Admissions Program, Overturns Undergraduate Policy

The Supreme Court today upheld the principles behind affirmative action, holding that the government has a compelling interest in promoting diversity in education. The Court also upheld the affirmative action program used by the University for Michigan for admission to the law school but not for undergraduate admissions. The ruling affirmed that government has a compelling interest in promoting diversity in education, leaving the door open for affirmative action programs that meet the Court’s criteria.

“The Supreme Court’s affirmation of the constitutionality of affirmative action represents a victory for America’s march from our segregated, racist past,” said Ralph G. Neas, President of People For the American Way Foundation. “Racial discrimination in education is a very real part of our history and an unfortunate reality in America today. Today, the Court gave us a signal that affirmative action can stay in order to promote diversity. I hope they provided enough guidance to make other programs workable.”

People For the American Way Foundation co-authored a brief asking the Court to uphold the affirmative action programs at the University of Michigan in recognition of the need to create a diverse student body. President George Bush submitted a brief urging the Court to rule against the University of Michigan’s admissions program.

“This case was about the value of a diverse educational environment in a country where diversity was once unwelcome. By upholding affirmative action, this Court has protected opportunities for millions of Americans who are still victimized by the lingering effects of discrimination,” said Neas. “This decision highlights how critical the next appointments to the Supreme Court will be. As demonstrated by this case, challenges to civil rights and other rights are increasing. The vote of a single justice can have a massive impact on Americans’ rights.”

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