Nightly News   |  October 15, 2013

SCOTUS to rule on states’ power to ban affirmative action

Justice Sonia Sotomayor attacked the amendment passed by Michigan votes in 2006 that ended affirmative action, arguing it would bring back segregation.  But Chief Justice John Roberts said colleges can still aim to diversify without racial preferences. Michigan is one of eight states that have banned affirmative action. NBC’s Pete Williams reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> we just heard about was in the news today, specifically ending affirmative action . today, the u.s. supreme court agreed to answer the question can voters in any given state vote to ban the practice? our justice correspondent pete williams with us tonight from outside the court. good evening, pete.

>> reporter: brian, good evening, the supreme court has ruled before that colleges can choose to use affirmative action , now it seems prepared to rule that voters in a state have the power to ban it. demonstrators outside the court urged it to uphold an amendment passed by michigan voters in 2006 , ending affirmative action in the state. the justice attacked it saying that one of the sponsors would bring back segregation. she said it appears to have done just that. but one justice said do whatever you can to have diversity without racial preferences. judging from today's argument, the court seems headed for a ruling that would allow affirmative action bans in michigan and several other states to stand.

>> pete williams , thank you.