The Supreme Court’s decision upholding Michigan’s affirmative-action ban was far from a shock, but it generated considerable strife on the high court, producing five different opinions in which the justices traded charges and countercharges on the polarizing issues at stake.
Tuesday’s splintered, 6-2, ruling continued what appears to be a steady march toward the demise of the use of race in higher education and offered new insight into just how eager some justices are to accelerate — or resist — what appears to be an inexorable trend.
In the panoply of opinions, the justices assumed various roles. Some acted as rhetorical bomb throwers, either for left or right. Others sought to mediate and moderate — or perhaps just gave the appearance of doing so in order to calm others’ fears. And one liberal justice defected from his ideological cohorts, to their chagrin.
Here are five takeaways from the justices’ decision holding that voters have the right to implement bans on racial preferences in higher education, hiring and contracting: