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Supreme Court Upholds Michigan Ban on Race-Conscious Admissions

April 25, 2014—The U.S. Supreme Court April 22 ruled, 6-2, to uphold a Michigan voter referendum banning the consideration of race and ethnicity in admissions decisions for public colleges and universities in the Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action case.

AAMC President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, M.D., said the AAMC is “disappointed” with the ruling, but added that the association is “grateful that the ruling is limited to Michigan. In addition, [AAMC is] pleased that Justice Kennedy emphasized that the case is not about the constitutionality of race-based admissions policies in higher education.”

In the April 23 statement, Dr. Kirch also emphasized that diversity is a “critical component of excellence in education, clinical care, and research” and a holistic approach to considering each applicant’s background and experiences allows medical schools to work “toward a more culturally competent physician workforce that can meet the health needs of an increasingly diverse nation.”

The American Council on Education (ACE) released a similar statement on the ruling. ACE President Molly Corbett Broad said, “we are gratified this ruling did not alter the ability of public institutions in states other than Michigan to consider race and ethnicity in admissions decisions, in accordance with the court's decision last year in Fisher v. The University of Texas at Austin,” which “reaffirmed the notions that diversity on college campuses offers unique educational benefits to students and is a compelling government interest.”

The AAMC joined ACE and 47 other organizations in submitting an amicus brief on the case to the Supreme Court in August 2013.


Heather Alarcon
Operations and Services, Legal
Telephone: 202-478-9939


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Washington Highlights, a weekly electronic newsletter, features brief updates on the latest legislative and regulatory activities affecting medical schools and teaching hospitals.

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Jason Kleinman
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Telephone: 202-903-0806