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Big vote on affirmative action law

Washington -- In a 6-2 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a controversial Michigan ballot initiative that prohibits public universities from using race as a factor in the college admissions process.

The Supreme Court ruling only applies to Michigan, but it opens the doors for other states to pass similar ballot initiatives.

Attorney and law professor Edward Fiandach talked about the importance of the ruling, and what it could mean for New York state.

"I think this is potentially a game changer," Fiandach said, referring to the potential for a ripple affect across other states. "Without naming names, I could see a few particular states that are going to move with that particular action."

Fiandach said he does not believe legislators in New York state will attempt any changes to affirmative action policy, and thinks a voter-driven ballot initiative is unlikely but possible.

"I don't see it happening," he said, adding his critique of the Supreme Court decision. "Clearly, if the federal government is bound by the constraints of the 14th Amendment, it would seem to me, by the privileges and immunities clause, the states would also be bound by the same amendment. It's a bizarre ruling."

According to George Washington University, a total of five states -- Arizona, California, Washington, Michigan and Nebraska -- have banned affirmative action practices for admissions at public universities through ballot initiatives.

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Washington Times