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Supreme Court Considers Affirmative Action

U.S. Supreme Court will decide if voter referendums can be used to ban affirmative action programs.
(NBC News) A case before the U.S. Supreme Court today could impact the consideration of race during admissions to colleges around the country.

Justices are considering whether a voter-approved Michigan ban on affirmative action is discriminatory.

The case centers around complaints from University of Michigan students like Molly Nestor who is now a Brooklyn, New York school teacher.

Nestor says she was denied the diverse college experience she deserved because of a 2006 voter approved amendment prohibiting the consideration of race in college admissions.

"My ability to step out of a graduation program ready to teach diverse classrooms of children was impacted," said Nestor.

Last year the number of African American freshmen admitted to Michigan was about 39 percent less than the year before the affirmative action ban took effect.

The number of Hispanic freshmen at the university also dropped by about 27 percent.

Proof the law unfairly burdens minorities, according to Michigan professor Kevin Gaines, who's challenging the law.

"The university affirms all kinds of diversity, the children of alumni, athletes musicians etc, but the one kind of diversity that is completely held off limits by proposal 2 is racial diversity," Gaines said.

But, Michigan attorney general bill Schuette says the states' color blind policy is about fairness.

"We are not discriminating against anything except discrimination where in Michigan we are equal treatment," said Schuette.

In court today justices recognize this case could impact a handful of other states with similar policies.
This is the second year in a row the court has taken on affirmative action.

Last year in a case involving the University of Texas the court ordered "stricter scrutiny" of a law allowing the use of race in college admissions.

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