Judge Rules Against Petition Drive Aimed at Ending Affirmative Action
A state board should not have approved a petition circulated by a group trying to end affirmative action at Michigan public universities and other public agencies, a judge ruled.
The decision, handed down in late March by Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Paula Manderfield, could at least slow down the effort aimed at letting voters decide the issue in November. The Michigan Civil Rights Initiative must get the signatures of at least 317,517 registered voters by July 6. Manderfield ordered the board of state canvassers to rescind its approval of the petition. The ballot proposal seeks to ban public schools and agencies from granting preferential treatment based on race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin.
The petition, the judge said, does not reflect that it would “alter or abrogate” existing provisions of the Michigan Constitution as it should have.
“To find otherwise would reduce the function of the state board of canvassers to a mere rubber stamp,” Manderfield wrote. The state attorney general’s office, which represents the board of state canvassers, said it was reviewing the decision. Tim O’Brien, campaign manager for the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, said he had not seen Manderfield’s ruling and could not comment on it.
The petition was challenged by the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action and Integration and Fight for Equality by Any Means Necessary (BAMN) along with Citizens for a United Michigan and other groups.
The petition drive comes after the U.S. Supreme Court in June decided 5-4 that the University of Michigan Law School could consider race to create a diverse population.
The court struck down the university’s undergraduate policy for ensuring a mix of students as too formulaic, and university officials revised the policy last fall to include a more comprehensive review of each application.
— Associated Press
© Copyright 2005 by DiverseEducation.com