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Maryland May Be Next State To Debate Affirmative Action

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McCorkel Meghan 370x278 (2) Meghan McCorkell
Meghan McCorkell joined the Eyewitness News team in July 2011 as a...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A controversial Supreme Court ruling could affect the way universities admit students. The justices upheld a ban in Michigan preventing public colleges from considering an applicant’s race during the admissions process.

Meghan McCorkell has more on the impact.

The case has sparked a national debate about whether race should be a factor in college admissions.

Public schools in Michigan may not consider race when weighing college applicants. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of a state law to take affirmative action out of the admissions process.

“Trying to make sure that everyone–when they apply to college or for jobs or for contracts–is afforded an equal right to compete based on their character and their merit and not their skin color or their sex,” said Jennifer Gratz.

But in a scathing dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor says Michigan “changed the basic rules of the political process in that State in a manner that uniquely disadvantaged racial minorities.”

The ruling was a hot topic on the Anthony McCarthy radio show, where experts say Maryland could be one court case away from the same debate.

“Some litigant sues one of the universities–one of the public universities–here in Maryland for discrimination,” said attorney Sheryl Wood.

“It would be a hard argument to make in Maryland but it’s certainly going to be part of any future conversation about admissions,” said Anthony McCarthy, NAACP.

College students we spoke with were divided on the issue.

“You’re going to isolate and alienate a proportion of people that could really benefit your university,” said Edward Joseph.

“On the other side, I can also understand schools that want the best students,” said Xingchi He. “You know, the best of the best.”

“It might turn out that only the richer kids can access schools,” said Adelie Pommier.

Some students say they worry about the impact a ban could have on diversity.

Seven other states have enacted similar bans to race-based admissions.

The number of black and Latino students at the University of Michigan has dropped since the law took effect.

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