Michigan Civil Rights Initiative Passes Easily:

The Michigan Civil Right Initiative, banning race and sex preferences in higher education and government contracting, passed easily, with 58% of the vote:

Mary Sue Coleman, president of the university [of Michigan]issued the following statement Tuesday night — before final results were in: "We defended affirmative action all the way to the Supreme Court because diversity is essential to our mission as educators. We must keep the doors of opportunity open to all. Regardless of what happens with Proposal 2, the University of Michigan will remain fully and completely committed to diversity. I am determined to do whatever it takes to sustain our excellence by recruiting and retaining a diverse community of students, faculty and staff."

One thing obviously missing from President Coleman's statement is a commitment to obey the law. Hopefully, she will make it clear that future diversity efforts will be pursued in accordance with Michigan law. To his credit, Dean Evan Caminker of the law school made it clear many months ago that the law school intends to obey the law:

Caminker said the Law School would not break the law if it passes in Michigan. "What is clear is that if a school is disabled by state law from taking race into account, it is disabled from taking race into account, period," Caminker said.

I tend to think that measures like the MCRI are too heavy-handed, but I have no doubt that state officials are under an obligation to abide by them.

University of Michigan to Sue to Overturn MCRI Preferences Ban:

Detroit Free Press:

University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman says the school will explore its legal options after the state's voters approved a ban on affirmative action programs that offer preferences to women and minorities. Coleman says she has questions as to whether the ban is lawful, particularly as it pertains to higher education. She said this morning she will ask the courts to allow U-M to keep using its admission system for now until the question is decided.

The chances that the university would ultimately win such litigation approach zero. Any argument that UM could make that it's unconstitutional to ban affirmative action preferences in higher education (e.g., academic freedom) would also mean that it would be unconstitutional to ban discrimination more generally in higher education, and no court is going to accept such an argument. But with clever forum shopping, the implementation of the MCRI can be delayed.

Thanks to reader Hans Bader for the link.

UPDATE: President Coleman, in the midst of lengthy remarks expressing her dedication to "diversity," added, "Of course the University of Michigan will comply with the laws of the state." Her devotion to a cause she believes just is admirable, but I think it would have been appropriate for her to recognize, even if briefly, that out of a student body of 40,000, and an alumni body of hundred thousands, there are many thousands of people of good will who disagree. The actual remarks, however, suggest that the only good member of the Michigan community is someone who supports "diversity" policies.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. BAMN Files a Lawsuit Against the MCRI
  2. University of Michigan to Sue to Overturn MCRI Preferences Ban:
  3. Michigan Civil Rights Initiative Passes Easily:
BAMN Files a Lawsuit Against the MCRI

claiming that the anti-preference initiative violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment (in part because it bans only certain types of preferences), is preempted by federal civil rights laws (because it prevents universities from using the only effective technique they have at hand to integrate), and violates the First Amendment of public universities as recognized by Grutter "to determine their academic standards and to determine the criteria for admission to the university." The latter argument is especially interesting because if it emerged victorious it would, e.g., implicitly call for the reversal of the Bob Jones University and Grove City College cases, and more generally allow any public or private university to discriminate in any way so long as they could claim they were doing so for "academic" reasons. (Okay, for public universities there might be an argument that the 14th Amendment still prohibits invidious discrimination, but certainly private schools would henceforth have a First Amendment right to discriminate in admissions).

Another interesting aspect of the complaint is that all of the defendants opposed the MCRI, making one wonder if the court will allow intervenors who have an incentive to defend the law. A link to the complaint can be found on Bamn's website.