Federal Judge Dismisses Challenge to Michigan's Ban on Affirmative Action

March 18, 2008

A federal judge ruled today that Michigan’s voter-approved ban on the use of affirmative-action preferences by public colleges and other state agencies is constitutional.

In doing so, Judge David M. Lawson of the U.S. District Court in Detroit dismissed a lawsuit brought by opponents of the law, which is known as Proposal 2, or the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative. Voters approved the measure in 2006. The opponents include high-school and college students who say they were harmed by it.

A lawyer for those plaintiffs told the Detroit Free Press that he planned to file an appeal immediately.

Proponents of the law, meanwhile, cheered the decision. “Fairness and equality are now unequivocally Michigan law,” said Jennifer Gratz, who was the chief plaintiff in one of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases that challenged race-based admissions at the University of Michigan. —Sara Hebel