A Sixth Circuit panel has overturned Michigan's constitutional amendment barring racial preferences in state government functions, including education. The Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, which this decision overturns, was itself intended to counteract a barely coherent Supreme Court decision that upheld racial preferences at the University of Michigan Law School.
Today's Sixth Circuit decision essentially argues that the Equal Protection clause is threatened by a state constitutional amendment that requires equal treatment of everyone under state law. Curt Levy of the conservative Committee for Justice observes:
Even the very liberal Ninth Circuit rejected this reasoning in its 1997 decision upholding California's Proposition 209, the preference ban on which MCRI is based. Noting that the Fourteenth Amendment's Constitution's Equal Protection Clause barely permits racial preferences, the Ninth Circuit reminded us that "The Fourteenth Amendment, lest we lose sight of the forest for the trees, does not require what it barely permits."