WASHINGTON, DC – The Judicial Education Project has filed a Supreme Court amicus curiae brief supporting the petitioner in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, (BAMN). The case involves Michigan’s state constitutional ban on affirmative action in state universities, which the 6th Circuit held to violate the Equal Protection Clause. It applied the “political process doctrine” which bars laws that make it more difficult for minority groups to secure certain types of legislation but other courts have refused to apply to actual guarantees of equal treatment.
Click here to read the brief.
The Sixth Circuit’s overly-broad interpretation of the political process doctrine represents a unilateral judicial expansion of the Constitution’s terms that “undercuts the ability of both the federal and state governments to effect the central goal of the Equal Protection Clause itself.” Its interpretation would “have far-reaching consequences for a wide variety of federal, state, and local laws” and “call into question any elimination of a racial preference that had been previously established by a more local rule.”
“These broad and serious implications are evidence that the decision below, which uniquely expands the political process doctrine to unconstitutionally tie the hands of both state and federal legislators, misinterprets longstanding constitutional doctrine and should be reversed.”
The Sixth Circuit’s decision would also export “influence over a law’s constitutionality to outside minority groups” by forcing courts to look to them to “determine when a facially neutral law that lacks a discriminatory requirement hurts a minority group.” This “challenge of determining which are representing genuine minority interests and how to balance the weight of minority interests on both sides is an inquiry wholly unsuitable for the judicial branch.”
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