ON-Lion Letter
In mid-March, U.S. District Court Judge David Lawson said Michigan voters did not violate the U.S. Constitution when they voted to ban racial preferences in all state programs through Proposition 2, the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative (MCRI), in November 2006.

"Judge Lawson painstakingly examined all the legal challenges to MCRI and rejected each of them," said Terry Pell, president of The Center for Individual Rights in Washington, D.C.  "Hopefully, this will bring to an end the extraordinary efforts of various advocacy organizations determined to undermine the 58% of the Michigan voters who voted to end racial preferences across the board."

CIR represents Eric Russell, who intervened in the legal challenge to MCRI brought by a Michigan advocacy organization called "By Any Means Necessary" (BAMN), later joined by the American Civil Liberties Union, and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Inc.  Among other things, the BAMN group of plaintiffs challenged MCRI on the grounds that it was passed with a discriminatory intent and would have a disparate impact on minorities by reducing the number of minority students attending Michigan colleges and universities. 

Lawson ruled that MCRI was passed for a variety of nondiscriminatory reasons, including the view that racial preferences are harmful to minority students.  "To impugn the motives of 58% of Michigan's electorate, in the absence of extraordinary circumstances which do not exist here, simply is not
warranted on this record," according to Lawson's opinion.

Earlier in the case, CIR and Russell successfully petitioned a federal appeals court to reinstate MCRI after Judge Lawson had enjoined its enforcement against Michigan colleges for six months.

BAMN and its allies have vowed to appeal Lawson's decision on MCRI's constitutionality.  On November 4, 2008 -- "Super Tuesday for Equality" -- Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Nebraska may all vote on similar initiatives to ban state-government preferences.

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee supports CIR.  Bradley also substantially supports the American Civil Rights Institute in Sacramento, Calif., which conducts research and public education about the effects of racial and other governmental preferences.
Actions: E-mail | Permalink |