An appeals court struck down a 2006 Michigan public referendum that banned public colleges and universities from allowing college admissions decisions to be influenced by race, reported the Christian Science Monitor.

The Sixth U.S Circuit Court of Appeals didn't rule on whether race-based admissions violate Michigan's constitution; instead, the court ruled that using a ballot measure to amend Michigan's state constitution violated the equal protection of minorities. The ruling leaves it to schools to decide whether to use race as a factor in admissions.

“We conclude that Proposal 2 targets a program that inures to the benefit of the minority and reorders the political process in Michigan in a way that places special burdens on racial minorities,” said Judge R. Guy Cole in the majority opinion.

In the dissenting opinion, Judge Julia Smith Gibbons wrote, “For the first time, the presumptively invalid policy of racial and gender preference has been judicially entrenched as beyond the political process."

By June, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide on a case regarding the constitutionality of using race in the admissions process at the University of Texas.

[Image via AFP]