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The week in Michigan politics: Affirmative action and GM

US Supreme Court
Some states want the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in on the Asian carp fight.

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry and Christina Shockley discuss the U.S. Supreme Court decision on affirmative action, and the latest reactions by GM after the fallout from recalls for ignition switch problems.

Affirmative Action

In a 6-2 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court says Michigan voters were within their rights eight years ago to ban affirmative action when it comes to university admissions. This decision isn't about the legality of affirmative action, but it does say that voters are within their rights to set limits on race- and gender-conscious university admissions policies. 

Critics say the decision makes it more difficult for universities to enact policies to overcome a history of discrimination against minorities and women.

The ruling means that affirmative action is now out.

However, Shockley and Lessenberry add that while race and gender cannot be considered in college admission, athletic ability and children of alumni still have special admission privileges.

General Motors reacts to recall scandal

General Motors has filed suit in a U.S. bankruptcy court asking a judge to protect the company from legal claims for actions that took place before it emerged from bankruptcy in 2009.

The filing asserts that the "numerous lawsuits" dealing with GM's recall of cars with possible ignition switch problems are "retained liabilities" of the old GM, not the new company.

Lessenberry says despite GM trying to get around the recall scandal legally, it’s the company’s reputation that is really on the line.

“Whether or not the company can fix this and prevent other things like this in the future, the question is how badly is their image damaged with the public,” Lessenberry says. “The public has a lot of buying choices and what’s happened in the last few weeks was one more big argument to maybe not buy a GM vehicle.”

Shockley mentions that GM is making some changes. It will restructure its engineering teams to help prevent and identify problems early in product development. GM will also double the number of product investigators. 

Lessenberry says this move was needed, and should have happened earlier. He adds that GM has said it was going to make major changes in the past, but if another blow like this happens to the company again, the company’s survival may be in question.

Christina began her career in radio at Michigan Radio while a student at the University of Michigan. She was a producer and researcher for The Todd Mundt Show, and then hosted Weekend Edition.
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