Justices Spar Over Affirmative Action Ban
The Supreme Court ruled 6-2 for an affirmative action ban on April 22 that was enacted by a Michigan constitutional amendment. Sonia Sotomayor, one of the two Justices who voted against the amendment, delivered a scathing dissent – 58 pages long – criticizing her colleagues’ affirmative ruling.
“As members of the judiciary tasked with intervening to carry out the guarantee of equal protection, we ought not sit back and wish away, rather than confront, the racial inequality that exists in our society. The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to speak openly and candidly on the subject of race, and to apply the Constitution with eyes open to the unfortunate effects of centuries of racial discrimination.” – Justice Sotomayor
Seven other states have similar constitutional amendments that ban the use of affirmative action in the higher education enrollment process. This ruling is particularly pertinent as there is evidence that minorities as a percentage of the study body is dropping at n colleges that have executed these affirmative action bans.
Sotomayor’s dissent was not met kindly, however, as Chief Justice Roberts rebuked her on the bench.
“To disagree with the dissent’s views on the costs and benefits of racial preferences is not to ‘wish away, rather than confront’ racial inequality … People can disagree in good faith on this issue, but it similarly does more harm than good to question the openness and candor of those on either side of the debate.” – Chief Justice Roberts
The main reason as to why the Court ruled in affirmation of Michigan’s ban on affirmative action was based on a disagreement over whether the courts had the correct jurisdiction to decide matters regarding these cases, and not by voters themselves choosing directly.
Considering the earlier ruling striking down Sections Two and Three of the Voting Rights Act, people may start to wonder how this Court is taking up issues that are racially controversial. Critics of the ruling say that the Bench is attempting to skirt history by ignoring continuing trends of racism, while supporters of the rulings say that time has simply passed by when racism was at its peak in America. Watching the Supreme Court is important at this point in time, as the country changes demographically in the coming years.
Dennis Futoryan (@dfutoryan) is an undergrad with an eye on a bright future in the federal government. Living in New York, he seeks to understand how to solve the problematic issues plaguing Gothamites, as well as educating the youngest generations on the most important issues of the day.
Featured image courtesy of [Tony Esopi via Wikipedia]