DETROIT — A federal appeals court on Friday struck down Michigan's ban on the consideration of race and gender when enrolling students at public colleges, saying it burdens minorities and violates the U.S. Constitution.
The 2-1 decision upends a sweeping law that was approved by voters in 2006 and had forced the University of Michigan and others to change admission policies. The court said it violates the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause.
It focused its argument mostly on the fact that Michigan's voter-approved ban is in the Constitution, making a repeal extremely difficult.
"Proposal 2 reorders the political process in Michigan to place special burdens on minority interests," judges R. Guy Cole Jr. and Martha Craig Daughtrey said.
The ban was placed in the Michigan Constitution after getting 58 percent of the vote nearly five years ago. It affected government hiring as well as college admissions.
In 2008, a federal judge in Detroit upheld the law, saying it was race-neutral because no single race can benefit.