Civil Rights Coalition Calls Supreme Court Michigan Decision Victory for America

Media 06.23,03

For more information, the civil rights community will hold a press conference at 12:30 at the Capitol View Conference Center, Chamber Room (9th Floor), 101 Constitution Avenue, NW ? use Louisiana Avenue entrance.

Washington: By upholding the principle of affirmative action and the permissible use of race-conscious admissions policies of the University of Michigan’s law school, the Supreme Court’s decision today is a great victory for all Americans, declared the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), the nation’s oldest, largest and most diverse civil rights coalition.

“The Supreme Court has listened to America’s civil rights community, America’s educators, the nation’s most distinguished military leaders, and America’s most prominent CEOs in affirming the importance of affirmative action at our colleges and universities,” said Wade Henderson, LCCR executive director.

“The Court,” said Henderson, “has sent a clear message ? racism, ongoing discrimination and other barriers to equal opportunity can be addressed by specific affirmative action programs that take race into consideration.”

“This is a historic day for the achievement of civil rights in America. The Court rejected arguments that would have turned the clock back on 50 years of civil rights progress,” said Henderson.

“We are disappointed that Michigan’s undergraduate policy was not upheld entirely, but in the end, that will not be a serious impediment to the effective implementation of a race-sensitive program to achieve diversity.”

“By affirming Michigan’s law school admission systems, this decision reaffirms a commitment to achieving diversity at our colleges and universities,” continued Henderson.

“The Court has made it clear that diversity and excellence are not mutually exclusive. Affirmative action is a critical tool that can help universities achieve a student body that is diverse, racially integrated, capable, and multi-talented. The Court also listened to the views of America’s foremost military and corporate leaders and recognized that America’s national security and American businesses benefit by recruiting men and women from diverse races, ethnicities, and backgrounds,” said Henderson.

Concluded Henderson, “We applaud the Court’s reaffirmation of its Bakke decision and the principle that the government has a compelling interest in promoting diversity in education, the military, and the workplace.”