The Supreme Court upheld Michigan’s ban on affirmative action Tuesday, but not without a blistering dissent from Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
Sotomayor said the decision infringed upon groups’ rights by allowing Michigan voters to change “the basic rules of the political process … in a manner that uniquely disadvantaged racial minorities.”
"In my colleagues’ view, examining the racial impact of legislation only perpetuates racial discrimination," Sotomayor added. “This refusal to accept the stark reality that race matters is regrettable. As members of the judiciary tasked with intervening to carry out the guarantee of equal protection, we ought not sit back and wish away, rather than confront, the racial inequality that exists in our society.”
The court’s 6-2 decision upheld a voter-approved change to the Michigan state Constitution that prevents public colleges from using race as a factor in its admissions. As the AP noted, the ruling provides a boost for other education-related affirmative action bans in California and Washington state.
ABC News pointed out that Sotomayor has been open about the role affirmative action has played in her personal life. In her memoir “My Beloved World,” Sotomayor wrote that it “opened doors” for her.
"But one thing has not changed: to doubt the worth of minority students’ achievement when they succeed is really only to present another face of the prejudice that would deny them a chance even to try," she wrote.
Read Sotomayor’s full dissent here.