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Court: Michigan University Must Comply With Affirmative Action Ban


Supporters of Michigan’s Proposal 2 won a key legal battle late Friday, as a federal appeals court lifted an injunction that had given the state’s three major universities six more months to comply with parts of the new law.

The opinion means the state’s voter-approved ban on some types of public affirmative action program goes into full effect as court cases proceed.

At least one pro-affirmative action group already is planning to appeal Friday’s ruling.

Michigan voters approved Proposal 2 — which bans the use of race and gender preferences in university admissions and government hiring and contracting — in November. The new law took effect Dec. 23, except for admissions and financial aid decisions for the incoming classes at the University of Michigan, Wayne State University and Michigan State University.

That exception was granted earlier this month by U.S. District Judge David Lawson. The extension would expire July 1.

The appeals court said federal law does not warrant providing an extension.

“In the absence of any likelihood of prevailing in invalidating this state initiative on federal grounds, we have no choice but to permit its enforcement in accordance with the state-law framework that gave it birth,” the three-judge panel of 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati wrote.

The appeals court said that while the U.S. Constitution may permit states to grant race and gender preferences in some narrow instances, it does not mandate preferences or stop a state from prohibiting them. The appeals court said a suspension of Proposal 2 enforcement is an issue that could be decided in state courts rather than federal courts.

The universities asked for the extension because they already had begun the admissions cycles for next year’s students before Proposal 2 passed. The universities want to complete the cycles using the same standards that have been in place since the process began earlier this year.

Those cycles mostly affect students who would enter college in fall 2007.

Lawyers for both Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Attorney General Mike Cox signed off on the extension.

But the extension was opposed by the Center for Individual Rights, which represents Eric Russell, an Auburn Hills man applying to the University of Michigan Law School.

The group wants immediate enforcement of Proposal 2.

“To say the least, I am very pleased,” Russell said of the ruling. “This is a victory for all the people in Michigan who voted ‘yes’ on Proposal 2.”

The original lawsuit in the Proposal 2 case was filed by a pro-affirmative action group called By Any Means Necessary. The group seeks to block the implementation of Proposal 2.

BAMN attorney George Washington said his group would look at appeals to the full 6th Circuit Court of Appeals and to the U.S. Supreme Court, if necessary.

Washington said he was angry that the appeals court ruled without any testimony in the case, relying instead on written briefs filed by parties in the last two days.

“They just issued this based on their personal beliefs,” Washington said.

Kelly Cunningham, a spokeswoman for the University of Michigan, said Friday night the school was reviewing the ruling.

Another suit before Lawson was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the NAACP. That suit argues the U.S. Supreme Court’s interpretation of the U.S. Constitution permits some university affirmative action, despite the state ban.

–Associated Press


Reader comments on this story:

There are currently 2 reader comments on this story:

“personal beliefs”
Throughout the proceedings Washington has asked the judges to set aside the law and decide cases in his favor on the basis of their own personal beliefs. What hypocrisy on his part to pretend righteous injustice when he knows full well that the law (as well as morality) requires that we judge persons by the content of their character.

     This decision is a timely tribute to the spirit of MLK Jr. “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'”

     King was so successful because he asked only for what is just – no more, no less. What a shame to see those who would claim to be his successors forget his timeless lesson. Let us not forget his spirit as we celebrate this Martin Luther King day.
-George Roberts,

Madison Heights, MI

“the real hypocrisy”
I find it most insulting as those who desire to return to a time of another year where injustice was the “moral right of the times.” The gentleman from Michigan who invokes the words of the late Dr. King and the supporters of ending Affirmative Action, act as if the problems of the past addressed by King in 1963 no longer exists.  The only thing that has changed is the persons who have volunteered to take part in this charade for whom many shed blood in the dejure South and the defacto North as Michigan.  The audacity for the continuing alleging people are to be judged by the content of character is the real hypocrisy – I am quite certain those who argue otherwise are simply blinded to the truth and evades the issues of racial injustice by not understanding the historical foundation of this Nation.  They continue to live the “lie” they have made truth, and their consciousness of justice based on the words of the late Dr. King has been adjudicated with injustice for all but themselves.  For them to say they are not racially conscious, why must their movement be led by a Black male who has made his money under the very system he now is committed to destruction. He has the right, just as the Grand Madison writer has the right, but neither should invoke the name of King as their justification – why don’t they use Thomas Jefferson, or George W. or William McClain.  They truly dishonor the name of King, and the White mother from Michigan whose life was taken by people who thought like they think.  This is the real hypocrisy of their movement which they have vowed to bring to the “Good Life State!” They should accept themselves for what they truly are – dissenters of freedom for people everyway when they cannot have their way – Washington is fighting a fight which includes them but they can not see it for they sight is too blurry.

-C. Menyweather-Woods

Omaha, NE

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