We have the second and last opinion: Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action. The decision of the Sixth Circuit is reversed.
The opinion is divided. Justice Kennedy wrote the plurality joined by the Chief Justice and Justice Alito. They conclude in their opinion that there is no authority in the federal constitution or in the Court’s precedents for courts to set aside Michigan laws that commit to the voters the determination whether racial preferences may be considered in governmental decisions, in particular with respect to school admissions.
The Chief Justice has filed a concurring opinion. Justice Scalia has filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, joined by Justice Thomas.
Justice Breyer filed an opinion concurring in the judgment. Justice Sotomayor has a dissenting opinion joined by Justice Ginsburg. Justice Kagan took no part.
The plurality opinion stresses that the case is not about the constitutionality or the merits of race conscious admission policies in higher education. Rather, the question concerns whether and in what manner voters in a state may chose to prohibit consideration of such racial preferences.
The actual decision can be seen in PDF format here.
While awaiting a “Plain English” explanation of the above by ScotusBlog, their live blog certainly suggests that this ruling continues to uphold the tenth amendment, in that States have every right to determine “whether and in what manner voters in a state may chose to prohibit consideration” of issues such as racial preferences, insofar as such laws do not counter the US Constitution.