The Supreme Court agreed to hear two cases today challenging the affirmative action policies at the University of Michigan Law School and Undergrad. The Court’s decision to hear the undergrad case is a bit unusual, because the court of appeals had not yet heard the case. In addition to general concerns about judicial economy, the Court likely opted to take the undergrad case because of concerns about procedural irregularities which have plagued the cases, including allegations that the Chief judge manipulated the process to assemble a panel (ultimately en banc) more favorable to the affirmative action policy. This intervention theme is further supported by the fact that the Supreme Court was asked (but refused) to intervene in a death penalty case last year where execution was postponed by a reporedly "informal" vote of only those judges who favored the stay. The Supreme Court was therefore aware of multiple procedural irregularities which have arisen in the circuit recently.
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