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Michigan's Referendum On Affirmative Action Could Impact Federal Workers, Says Holmes Norton

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D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton is concerned the Supreme Court's affirmative action ruling this week could undermine federal workers.

Critics say decades worth of precedent was upended when the Supreme Court ruled Michigan voters can do away with affirmative action in higher education.

Holmes Norton worries the ruling will bolster opponents of affirmative action, and she predicts they'll begin trying to undermine that system for federal workers: "...I would suggest that the same could be done for public employees, yes, including federal employees, and for public contracting," the delegate says.

Holmes Norton says while it's still unclear how exactly the ruling will impact workers in the region, she's expecting other states to follow Michigan's lead and begin their own bans on affirmative action.

"So I can't say for sure, but I must say what this decision is going to do is to invite referendum where they may seem likely to find an audience or a constituency, perhaps in other areas as well," Holmes Norton says. "We've got to stay on the lookout."

Meanwhile, supporters of the ruling argue the court strengthened democracy by allowing voters to choose whether race should play into college's admissions policies.


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