U.S. Supreme Court
Constitutional Law — racial preferences — political process doctrine
An amendment to a state constitution, prohibiting racial preferences, does not violate the political process doctrine.
Unlike the injuries in Mulkey, Hunter, and Seattle, the question here is not how to address or prevent injury caused on account of race but whether voters may determine whether a policy of race-based preferences should be continued. By approving Proposal 2 and thereby adding §26 to their State Constitution, Michigan voters exercised their privilege to enact laws as a basic exercise of their democratic power, bypassing public officials they deemed not responsive to their concerns about a policy of granting race-based preferences. The mandate for segregated schools, Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U. S. 483, and scores of other examples teach that individual liberty has constitutional protection. But this Nation’s constitutional systemal so embraces the right of citizens to speak and debate and learn and then, as a matter of political will, to act through a lawful electoral process, as Michigan voters have done here. These precepts are not inconsistent with the well-established principle that when hurt or injury is inflicted on racial minorities by the encouragement or command of laws or other state action, the Constitution requires redress by the courts. Such circumstances were present in Mulkey, Hunter, and Seattle, but they are not present here.
701 F.3d 466, reversed.
Kennedy, J.; Roberts, C.J., concurring; Scalia, J., concurring; breyer, J., concurring; Sotomayor, J., dissenting.