The U.S. Supreme Court has turned down an emergency motion to suspend a Michigan law that bars the state’s universities from using affirmative action in admissions.
Michigan citizens’ groups, led by the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration, and Immigration Rights and to Fight for Equality by Any Means Necessary, based in Detroit, had filed the request after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, in Cincinnati, overturned a federal district court’s injunction suspending Proposition 2, which was passed by Michigan voters in November. A three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit court said the ballot initiative was likely to be upheld.
After legal setbacks for the law’s opponents, the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and Wayne State University last month dropped consideration of race and gender from their admissions policies.
The opponents asked Justice Stevens, as circuit justice for the 6th Circuit, to reinstate the injunction.
In papers filed with Justice Stevens on Jan. 17, the three universities and Michigan Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm, a Democrat, also sought the reinstatement of the injunction. The universities contended that the sudden abandonment of their former admissions policies was unfair to students who had applied for admission for the fall 2007 academic term.
Court papers filed by Michigan Attorney General Michael A. Cox, however, argued that the stay by the appeals court should remain in place.
Justice Stevens, who could have issued a decision by himself, referred the motion in Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action v. Granholm (No. 06A678) to the full Supreme Court. The court’s order denying the motion, issued late on Friday, Jan. 19, gave no further details.
Consideration of the merits of the case is still pending in the lower courts, and Gov. Granholm has ordered a review of the impact of the new law on state programs, due by February.