A recent 6-2 decision was made in the U.S. Supreme that allows individual states to vote on laws regarding affirmative action and the use of race in admission decision making at public universities.

Justice Sonya Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg were the only justices to dissent to the decision. In Sotomayor’s  words, “without checks, democratically approved legislation can oppress minority groups.” This decision comes on the heels of the Michigan state legislature passing a law barring race from playing a factor in admission to public universities.

Similarly, California and Washington state have held similar votes state-wide and have discovered a majority of residents oppose affirmative action policies.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, a supporter of allowing states to decide for themselves, claims that voters in Michigan chose to eliminate racial preferences because it would give rise to race-based resentment. For Kennedy, this issue is not about racism or racial inequality in an abstract sense but rather about the constant interplay between state and federal jurisdiction: “this case is not about how the debate about racial preferences should be resolved. It is about who may resolve it.” 

Source: Chicago Sun-Times, OWN Network