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NATIVE BRIEF: LANSING - In 2006 the voters of Michigan with 58 percent of the votes struck down affirmative action programs in the state through a referendum, known as Proposal 2. The proposal banned affirmative action in all governmental - local and state - hiring and contracting, including state college and university admissions.
US 6th Circuit Court of Appeals strikes down the prohibition on any consideration of race or gender
On Friday, the US 6th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Proposal 2. By a 2 to 1 margin, the appeals justices declared the proposal unconstitutional.
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette plans to appeal the case and stated Friday that the anti-affirmative action stance will remain intact pending the appeal that most likely lead all the way to the US Supreme Court, if they are willing to hear the case.
This impacts American Indians and minority groups, including African Americans and Latinos.
"Today the 6th Circuit concluded that the State of Michigan and its citizens acted beyond the boundaries of the Equal Protection Clause of the US Constitution with Prop 2. Although the legal and policy battle is not concluded by the release of today's decision, it is a step toward a better dialogue with the citizens of Michigan regarding affirmative action," Derek Bailey, tribal chairman of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, based in Suttons Bay, Michigan told the Native News Network via an email last Friday night.
In a news release issued on Friday, the Michigan Department of Civil Rights states:
"The Michigan Department of Civil Rights applauds the opinion of the US 6th Circuit Court of Appeals striking down the prohibition on any consideration of race or gender in university admissions decisions."
"We believe the question of who comprises a student body is best made at the academic rather than the political level. A university's primary responsibility is the academic interests of those students who are admitted and preparing those students for the future. This decision removes the handcuffs that prevented Michigan's public universities from making decisions based upon those factors they believed to be in the best interests of the entire student body and the institutions as a whole."
"At its core, today's decision trumpets a principle that is at the very heart of what makes America great. When new democracies are being born around the world, it is a bedrock principle we need to underscore and a lesson we hope they heed. America's strength grows from our constant efforts to balance majority rule and minority rights. The 6th Circuit today reminds us that minority rights cannot properly be determined based solely on popular vote. The decision is a truly appropriate way to begin the Independence Day weekend."
posted July 5, 2011 8:50 am et
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