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How Affirmative Action Ruling Could Impact Indiana


Photo: TexasGOPVote

The Supreme Court upheld Michigan's use of a referendum to ban affirmative action.

The Supreme Court ruling upholding Michigan’s ban on the use of affirmative action in college admissions could have an effect in Indiana, though a law professor says it would be a difficult process.

The court’s 6-to-2 ruling on Tuesday upheld an amendment to Michigan’s state constitution that bans racial preferences to help achieve diversity at colleges . It also bans affirmative action for government contracts and public employment.

The Supreme Court ruling only covered the use of voter referendums to outlaw affirmative action, not the legality of affirmative action itself.

Many Indiana universities are believed to be using affirmative action as part of admissions, so the ruling means it’s possible that could end sometime in the future.

But Indiana University McKinney School of Law professor David Orentlicher says it would be a long road in Indiana to pass such a referendum.

“The Legislature could put it on the ballot for voters to decide,” he says. “If we had a process through the legislature to amend the constitution, that would be permitted.”

Unlike some states where constitutional amendments can originate through citizen petitions, amendments in Indiana have to originate in the General Assembly and have to be passed by lawmakers twice before going on the ballot.

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