Reaction to affirmative action ruling: Bill Schuette vows appeal, ACLU says political process must be open to all

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Courtesy of MI Live.Com

Bill Schuette

LANSING, MI – Reaction to a ruling overturning Michigan’s 6-year-old ban against affirmative action in public university admissions was quick and fierce Thursday.

The state attorney general vowed to go to the U.S. Supreme Court. The ACLU said the decision reaffirms a cornerstone of democracy.

Statements from various parties are below.

Attorney General Bill Schuette:

MCRI embodies the fundamental premise of what America is all about: equal opportunity under the law. Entrance to our great universities must be based upon merit. We are prepared to take the fight for quality, fairness and the rule of law to the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Mark Rosenbaum, ACLU attorney and University of Michigan professor:

“Today’s landmark decision reaffirms the cornerstone principle of our democracy—that the political process must be open to all Americans. It restores the argument that race is not to be disadvantaged when universities seek to enroll a diverse student body. Somewhere Lincoln and Dr. King are smiling.”

Jennifer Gratz, white plaintiff in case challenging University of Michigan admissions policies, on Facebook.

The court has given me a clear mission: I must re-engage in the fight to guarantee fair and equal treatment for all. The court has no right to overturn the will of the people and decide that equality is unconstitutional. Like if you are with me!

Michigan Department of Civil Rights:

“The Michigan Department of Civil Rights applauds the opinion of the US 6th Circuit Court of Appeals striking down the prohibition on any consideration of race or gender in university admissions decisions.We believe that in admissions decisions the greater interest of the public is best addressed in an academic environment rather than at a 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.

At its core, this decision trumpets a principle that is at the heart of what makes America great. Ensuring the diversity of our institutions of higher education – the places where innovation, advancement and new ideas are born and perfected, is imperative to the advancement of the people of our state and nation.

Having filed an amicus brief in support of our partners, we are pleased that the higher court recognizes that minority rights should not be based solely on a popular vote, and must be protected because they play an indispensable role in our democracy.”

Michigan Republican Party Chairman Bobby Schostak:

“Michigan citizens sent a clear message when they amended Michigan’s Constitution by passing the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative: Our government should respect our founding principles by looking to ones merit not ones race.Today’s decision by the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals is a slap in the face to Michigan voters and we applaud Attorney General Bill Schuette for his announcement to challenge and defend Michigan’s Constitution which ensures all people are treated equally.”

Dennis Parker, director of the National ACLU Racial Justice Program

“This is not about leveling the playing field; it’s about getting on the playing field. This is about allowing all individuals to have a voice in the admissions process. The full appeals court has recognized that racial identity cannot be meaningless or irrelevant in our admissions process.”

Thomas Costello, president and CEO of the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion, a successor group to one that fought Proposal 2:

“We are pleased that the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has made the common sense ruling that diversity can be a part of the consideration in university admissions, state hiring and state contracting. The private sector takes affirmative steps regularly to ensure that they have hiring, promotion and contracting practices that are inclusive. It is foolish to prevent the public sector from using the best practices of our most successful businesses and corporations. We hope that Michigan will again being the judicious use of affirmative action policies to ensure true equal access to opportunity in our state.”

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