In a win for affirmative action, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that the University of Michigan Law School could consider race as a factor in making admissions decisions. The 5-4 decision reversed a lower court’s ruling that found the law school’s policy to be discriminatory. Three white students who had been denied admission to the school filed the suit claiming that they had been discriminated against because of their race. The University of Michigan Law School uses race as one of several factors, including academics and economic status, to determine admission. According to the school, race must be considered in order to maintain diversity, which adds to the educational experience at the school. The Sixth Circuit sided with the school saying that, “the law school has a compelling state interest in achieving a diverse student body.” The court is now considering a separate case contesting the use of race in the University of Michigan’s undergraduate admissions.
Legal experts have speculated that the University of Michigan case could be used by the US Supreme Court to illustrate the potential boundaries of using race and affirmative action policies in university admissions. Neither party in the current case has offered comments.
Media Resources: Reuters, 5/14/02; Associated Press, 5/14/02
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .