Affirmative Action


Here are a few of our activities and achievements:

Supreme Court Cases

Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action
Michigan's Proposal 2 was passed in response to the 2003 U.S. Supreme Court decision that held that the University of Michigan could foster a diverse student body through its admissions process, although it could not use racial quotas or assign extra points to minority applicants. Proposal 2 amends the Michigan constitution to prevent the state government from considering race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in public universities and government hiring. When Proposal 2 was originally introduced, AALDEF collaborated with a broad coalition of local community partners in Michigan and presented a report in 2006 on the legislation's impact on the Asian American community. In November 2011, AALDEF joined the Equal Justice Society among other civil rights organizations in filing an amicus brief urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit to strike down Michigan's Proposal 2 as unconstitutional. AALDEF's amicus brief reasoned that Proposal 2 is unconstitutional because it indoctrinates one group's interests into the state constitution, effectively destroying minorities' and women's ability to even advocate for their interests without seeking yet another constitutional amendment. In 2012, the Sixth Circuit agreed, and overturned Proposal 2.

In October 2013, Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. AALDEF signed on to an amicus brief urging the Court to strike down the ban.

Additional resources:

AALDEF Statement: Supreme Court Grants Cert in Affirmative Action Case

Asian Pacific Americans in Michigan and the Anti-Affirmative Action "Proposal 2" : A Toolkit for Grassroots Leaders [pdf]

2006 Exit Poll: 75% of Asian American voters in Michigan rejected Michigan's Proposal 2 state referendum seeking to ban affirmative action.


Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin
AALDEF filed an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to uphold the University of Texas at Austin's (UT-Austin) race-conscious admissions policy that promotes equal opportunity and diversity for Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs). Eighteen AAPI education and youth-serving organizations, and 52 higher education faculty and officials have joined AALDEF as amicus curiae. In June 2013, the United States Supreme Court issued a 7-1 decision affirming the value of diversity in higher education, while remanding the case to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Texas for further consideration. AALDEF also filed an amicus brief before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of student association Asian Desi Pacific Islander American Collective (APAC) and the Asian/Asian American Faculty and Staff Association (AAAFSA) at the University of Texas at Austin.

Additional resources:

Read our in-depth FAQs for a full background on Fisher v. UT-Austin and how affirmative action affects Asian Americans.

Policy papers: The Majority of Asian Americans Support Race-Conscious Admissions Policies (June 25, 2012)

Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District, Meredith v. Jefferson County Schools
AALDEF filed a brief on behalf of 14 Asian American youth serving organizations across the country in this United States Supreme Court case concerning voluntary racial integration in public schools. Racial integration in public school is distinct from but related to affirmative action in higher education, employment and contracting.

Gratz v. Bollinger, Grutter v. Bollinger
AALDEF, along with several other Asian American organizations, filed an amicus brief in the United States Supreme Court in these cases brought against the University of Michigan challenging both the undergraduate and law school minority admissions policies. AALDEF argued that diversity in educational programs benefits all students and could justify consideration of race and other background factors in the selection of students. The Supreme Court upheld the law school's plan as constitutional, finding that it appropriately considered diversity, but found the undergraduate plan unlawful because of the lack of individual considerations of all applicants.


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