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Michigan voters approve affirmative action restriction

[JURIST] Michigan voters Tuesday approved a constitutional amendment banning affirmative action [JURIST archive] in public employment, public education and state contracting. The Michigan Civil Rights Initiative [advocacy website] pushed Proposal 2 [text] which prohibits preferential treatment based on “race, gender, color, ethnicity or national origin.” Michigan follows California and Washington as the third state to restrict affirmative action practices. The Michigan Secretary of State reported the following unofficial returns Wednesday afternoon:

Yes 2,131,310 58 percent
No 1,545,862 42 percent

The amendment explicitly applies to the University of Michigan, whose affirmative action policies in admissions were reviewed by the US Supreme Court in the Grutter and Gratz cases in 2003. The court ruled that the US Constitution permitted the university to consider race as a factor in the admissions process, upholding the University law school admissions policy [Grutter opinion text] while rejecting the more rigid undergraduate admissions system as discriminatory [Gratz opinion text]. The amendment approved Tuesday does not apply to “action that must be taken to establish or maintain eligibility for any federal program, if ineligibility would result in a loss of federal funds to the state.” AP has more. The Detroit Free Press has local coverage.

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