Resource: Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action

By: Oyez Project

April 22, 2014

In November 2006 election, a majority of Michigan voters supported a proposition to amend the state constitution to prohibit "all sex-and race-based preferences in public education, public employment, and public contracting." The day after the proposition passed, a collection of interest groups and individuals formed the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Immigration Rights and Fight for Equality by Any Means Necessary (Coalition). The Coalition sued the governor and the regents and boards of trustees of three state universities in district court by arguing that the proposition as it related to public education violated the Equal Protection Clause. About a month later, the Michigan Attorney General and Eric Russell, an applicant to the University of Michigan Law School, filed separate motions to intervene as defendants, which were granted. Both sides moved for summary judgment and the plaintiffs moved to have Russell removed from the case as he did not represent interests separate from those of the Michigan Attorney General. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants and granted the motion to remove Russell as an intervenor. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part by holding the proposed amendment unconstitutional and upholding the removal of Russell as a party to the litigation.