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Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action

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Leanne Mallory

on 16 October 2013

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Transcript of Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action

Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action

Overview of the Case
Election day- November 7, 2006 Michigan voters asked to vote on an amendment to the state constitution named "Michigan Civil Rights Initiative" or as it is more often called, "Proposition 2"
The day after the election, several interest groups and individuals decided to fight the new amendment citing that it was unconstitutional. They joined to form the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Immigration Rights, and Fight For Equality By Any Means Necessary.
Believed that Prop 2 violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.
Filed a suit against the Governor of Michigan as well as the Boards of Regents and Trustees of 3 major Michigan Universities: University of Michigan, Michigan State, and Wayne State University.
Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action
History Lessons
1978, Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that using racial quotas in college admission decisions violated the Equal Protection Clause. Decision eliminated racial quotas, but it did allow race to be considered as one of many admission factors for the purpose of achieving a diverse student body.
Gratz v. Bollinger
In 1995, Jennifer Gratz was denied admission to the University of Michigan.
Filed suiit claimin g "reverse discrimination" due to affirmative action policies.
University of Michigan used a point system (150 point max) to grant admission. Underrepresented minority groups received 20 points automatically.
2003 U.S Supreme Court ruled that the points system was overly mechanized and the admission policies at Michigan were a violation of the Equal Protection Clause.
Grutter v. Bollinger
In 1996, Barbara Grutter was denied admission to University of Michigan Law School.
Like Gratz, she filed suit for reverse discrimination citing the "point system" for admission.
Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that colleges could use race as a component in their admission policy.
Sandra Day O'Connor stated that the Constitution "does not prohibit the law school's narrowly tailored use of race in admissions decisions to further a compelling interest in obtaining the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body."
One month later, Michigan Attorney General, Michael Cox, filed a motion to intervene as defendant.
A separate motion to intervene as defendant was filed by Eric Russell (an applicant to the law school).
Same game-different players
In 2006, the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative Commission under the leadership of Executive Director Jennifer Gratz proposed "Prop 2".
MCRI Commission
Proposition 2 becomes law on December 23, 2006.
So what happened...
Proposition 2 passed with 58% of the vote
Bill Schuette elected Attorney General of Michigan. Assumes office January 2011.
December 19, 2006 Judge David M. Lawson of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan rules that although the law is in effect, it does not have to be implemented at Michigan Universities until July 1, 2007.
Eric Russell's suit is filed claiming that the delay in the new law will hinder his admission to the U of M Law School.
Also on December 19, 2006, "Cantrell Plaintiffs" (a group of professors and students from the University of Michigan) filed a suit challenging Prop 2.
December 29, 2006-6th U.S Circuit Court of Appeals rules that the 3 universities must adhere to the law immediately. Overturning the district court ruling.
October 5, 2007-Cantrell Plaintiffs file a motion for summary judgement to remove Eric Russell from the case. They stated that he and the Attorney General did not have "distinct interests" in the case.
October 17, 2007-University Defendants (U of M, MSU, and Wayne State) filed a motion to dismiss stating that they were no longer "necessary parties to the litigation".
November 30, 2007-Attorney General Cox, Eric Russell, and the Cantrell Plaintiffs all file for summary judgment
March 18, 2008-District court denies University Defendant's motion to be dismissed from litigation.
District court also grants the Attorney General's request for summary judgment. District court states that Prop 2 does not violate the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.
Additionally, the District Court grant summary judgment for the Cantrell Plaintiffs dismissing Eric Russell as an intervenor.
The plaintiffs, University Defendants, and Russell appealed to the U.S Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit.

January 2011-The 6th Circuit Court panel reversed the decision of summary judgment for the Attorney General. Stating "portions of Proposal 2 that affect Michigan’s public institutions of higher education impermissibly alter the political process in violation of the Equal Protection Clause."
However, the 6th Circuit upheld the summary judgement to dismiss Russell as an intervenor, and the denial to dismiss the University Defendants.
July 28, 2011-Attorney General Bill Schuette appeals to the 6th Circuit asking the case to be heard "en banc" (all active judges will hear it)
November 16, 2012-the 6th Circuit En Banc upholds the decision of the panel-supporters of Prop 2 appeal to the Supreme Court
March 25, 2013-Supreme Court grants a writ of certiorari.
Supreme Court
Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action is schedule to begin arguments on October 15, 2013.
What's at stake?
Unlike previous Affirmative Action cases which decided whether or not it is constitutional to use racial preferences in higher education, "with this case the Supreme Court will decide whether it is constitutional for a state to ban such preferences in higher education" (Feder, 2013)
What do you think? How should the Supreme Court should rule?
Feder, J. (2013). Banning the use of racial preferences in higher education: A legal analysis of schuette v. coalition to defend affirmative action (7-5700). Retrieved from Congressional Research Service website: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R43205.pdf-

National conference of state legislatures: Affirmative action court cases. (2013).
Retrieved from http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/educ/affirmative-action-court-decisions.aspx

Retrieved: http://www.oyez.org/cases/2010-2019/2013/2013_12_682

Schultz, M. (2006, December 29). The michigan civil rights initiative.
Retrieved from http://www.adversity.net/michigan/mcri_mainframe.htm

United States Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit , (2012). (08-1387/1389/1534;09-1111). Retrieved from website: www.ca6.uscourts.gov/opinions.pdf/12a0386p-06.pdf‎

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