GWEN IFILL (NewsHour): Affirmative action made its reappearance at the Supreme Court today, as the justices weighed in on a Michigan ballot initiative that banned public colleges from using race as a factor in admissions.
By an unusually lopsided 6-2 decision, the justices dealt a blow to proponents of affirmative action, allowing Michigan to join several other states that have already banned or limited the practice.
For more on the court’s reasoning, we turn to Marcia Coyle of “The National Law Journal,” who was at the court today.
So, that 6-2 decision, that kind of tells the tale, doesn’t it?
MARCIA COYLE, The National Law Journal: It does, Gwen.
The justices who were in among the six had different reasons for why they concluded that there was nothing wrong with Michigan’s ban here. Justice Kennedy really wrote the lead opinion, and he was joined by the chief justice and Justice Samuel Alito.
Justice Kennedy seemed to take pains to make clear when he read a summary of his opinion from the bench that this case was really not about the constitutionality or the merits of race-conscious admissions, but it was really about who should make the determination about those merits.
And he said that there was nothing in the Constitution or the court’s earlier decisions that allowed the judiciary, gave it the authority to take from the voters under their own state laws the right to debate, learn and then act through their political process to resolve that debate.