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Court Deems Affirmative Action Constitutional by 5-4 Vote

(WASHINGTON, DC) – MAS Freedom, along with BAMN (By Any Means Necessary), the NAACP and other civil rights and civil liberties organizations, supports the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision upholding the constitutionality of affirmative action in public universities. MAS Freedom was a principal participant, along with the other organizations who rallied in front of the Court on April 1, 2003, as arguments were heard in a case involving the University of Michigan’s affirmative action policies.

In the June 23, 2003, decision involving the University of Michigan, the Court ruled 5-4 that race can be one of the factors that colleges use to pick their students, so long as it is not the only factor.

"Universities cannot establish quotas for members of certain racial groups or put members of those groups on different admission tracks," wrote Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, "Universities can, however, consider race or ethnicity more flexibly as a 'plus' factor in the context of individualized consideration of each and every applicant."

“I think the court got it right,” said MAS Freedom Executive Director Mahdi Bray. “We live in a society where race still matters in that state-sponsored maladies such as institutional racism require state-supported remedies. This is definitely the right signal to send to the Bush administration, who had sought, under the guise of ‘compassionate conservatism’, to roll back civil rights and civil liberties.

“However, I think it would be a gross misconception to characterize affirmative action as state-sponsored remedy that deals with race,” said Bray. “To date, the greatest benefactors of affirmative action have been women, not members of a particular race.”

MAS Freedom Foundation is America's largest Muslim grassroots organization. Its mission is to build an integrated empowerment process for the American Muslim community through civic education, participation, community outreach, and coalition building, and to forge positive relationships with other institutions outside of the Muslim community, ensuring and facilitating the protection of civil rights and liberties for American Muslims and all Americans.

We need your support in this important work. Please send donations to MAS FREEDOM, 1050 17th St. NW, Suite 600, ATTN: Development.

For more information about MAS Freedom, see or call 202-496-1288.

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