Two Anti-Affirmative Action Measures Dealt Blows

Anti-affirmative action measures in Colorado and Michigan were dealt blows in the past several days. In Michigan, affirmative action opponents have been working to garner enough signatures on a petition for a ballot initiative in November’s elections amending the state constitution to ban consideration of race in public employment or education. However, Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Paula J. M. Manderfield ruled that state officials erred in approving the wording on the anti-affirmative action petitions, the New York Times reports. She ordered the state to rescind its approval of the petitions, which violate the state’s amendment process by not fully informing voters of the effect of the initiative.

This decision could defeat or at least slow down the anti-affirmative action petition drive, which has a deadline of July 6 to add the measure to the state ballot for the November elections. Affirmative action opponents, led by Ward Connerly and Jennifer Gratz, a plaintiff in the recent US Supreme Court case on affirmative action, vow to appeal the decision and continue collecting signatures.

Meanwhile, the Colorado Senate on Friday defeated legislation that would have banned affirmative action programs in public hiring, contracting, and public college and university admissions. The final vote on the misleadingly named “Colorado Civil Rights Act” was 18-17. “Defeat of the Connerly-inspired measure É defends affirmative action É and takes a stand against divisive attacks on civil rights in our state. This was a vote for equality and opportunity,” said Bill Vandenberg of the Colorado Progressive Coalition and spokesperson for Colorado Unity, according to the Leadership Council on Civil Rights.

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NY Times 3/27/04; Detroit Free Press 3/26/04; LCCR 3/26/04

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