Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Friday, July 1, 2011

Court decision says 2006 Proposal 2 unconstitutional

Editor's note: On Sept. 9 the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order stating that the entire court would reconsider the July 1 decision of a three-judge panel that had held Proposal 2, the ballot initiative that bans affirmative action in university admissions, to be unconstitutional. Granting such review automatically sets aside the earlier decision and the case is re-submitted to the entire court. Briefs from all parties will be due by December.

A panel of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday, July 1, issued a decision finding as unconstitutional Proposal 2, a ballot initiative approved by Michigan voters in 2006.  


• Click here to read the Sixth Circuit Court decision.

• A Spanish-language version of this story is available on U-M's Portal en Español.

The university is reviewing the decision for possible implications, and with the understanding that further legal steps may occur.

Proposal 2 had amended the Michigan Constitution by adding a provision prohibiting discrimination and preferential treatment based on race, ethnicity, sex, or national origin in public education, public employment, and public contracting. The plaintiffs sued the state, including three public universities, to have Proposal 2 declared unconstitutional.  

The Sixth Circuit panel concluded, 2-1, that Proposal 2 violated the federal Equal Protection Clause by making it more difficult for minority groups to participate fully and equally in the state's political processes, particularly with respect to the ability to seek changes in university admissions policies.  

It is not yet known whether the decision will be appealed, however, additional legal review of the panel's decision, including by the whole of the Sixth Circuit, could be forthcoming, either upon request of a party or on the Sixth Circuit's own motion.