A split of the Sixth Circuit upheld the 3 judge panel. Our previous coverage of Prop. 2 here.
COLE, J., delivered the opinion of court in which MARTIN, DAUGHTREY, MOORE, CLAY, WHITE, STRANCH, and DONALD, JJ., joined; and BATCHELDER, C. J., and GIBBONS, ROGERS, SUTTON, COOK, and GRIFFIN, JJ., joined in Part II.B and C. BOGGS, J. (pp. 37–40), delivered a separate dissenting opinion, in which BATCHELDER, C. J., joined. GIBBONS (pp. 41–57), delivered a separate dissenting opinion, in which BATCHELDER, C. J., and ROGERS, SUTTON, and COOK, JJ., joined, and GRIFFIN, J., joined with the exception of Part III. ROGERS (pg. 58) delivered a separate dissenting opinion, in which COOK, J., joined. SUTTON (pp. 59–69), delivered a separate dissenting opinion in which BATCHELDER, C. J., and BOGGS and COOK, JJ., joined. GRIFFIN, J. (pp. 70–74), delivered a separate dissenting opinion.
A student seeking to have her family’s alumni connections considered in her application to one of Michigan’s esteemed public universities could do one of four things to have the school adopt a legacy-conscious admissions policy: she could lobby the admissions committee, she could petition the leadership of the university, she could seek to influence the school’s governing board, or, as a measure of last resort, she could initiate a statewide campaign to alter the state’s constitution. The same cannot be said for a black student seeking the adoption of a constitutionally permissible race-conscious admissions policy. That student could do only one thing to effect change: she could attempt to amend the Michigan Constitution—a lengthy, expensive, and arduous process—to repeal the consequences of Proposal 2. The existence of such a comparative structural burden undermines the Equal Protection Clause’s guarantee that all citizens ought to have equal access to the tools of political change. We therefore REVERSE the judgment of the district court on this issue and find Proposal 2 unconstitutional. We AFFIRM the denial of the University Defendants’ motion to be dismissed as parties, and we AFFIRM the grant of the Cantrell Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment as to Russell.