Monday, February 14, 2005

Ward Connerly is at it Michigan

Fresh from his November 2003 Affimative Action defeat in California Ward Connerly has resurfaced in Michigan once again trying to dismantle Affirmative Action. If this were coming from a white racist maybe I would understand, but it's coming from a black man. Connerly's movement more than likely has deep pockets. He is receiving money from influencial ultra-conservative organizations outside of Michigan. Apparently Mr. Connerly has run into a few roadblocks in Michigan too. He says he has 360,000 signatures. He will need 500,000 to put it on the ballots. Connerly's group the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative (another example of Republican doublespeak) ran into roadblocks in Michigan. "MCRI originally wanted the initiative on the November 2004 ballot. However, several months before the election, a Michigan judge held that the anti-affirmative action initiative was "blatantly in direct conflict" with the Michigan Constitution and did not fully inform voters of its effect. Connerly eventually ended his efforts due to the court decision and his failure to garner the requisite number of signatures. In the summer of 2004, Connerly restarted the signature-gathering process, but the campaign faced more criticism when reports showed that 100 percent of the funding for the Michigan ballot initiative came from outside of the state. The organizations that are pro-affirmative action are very vigilant and determinded to stop Connerly in the same way that he was stopped in California. reports "One suit had been filed by Citizens for a United Michigan, a diverse coalition including the Detroit Renaissance, Michigan Catholic Conference, and Michigan chapters of the American Association of University Women, NAACP, and ACLU. The other lawsuit came from the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action By Any Means Necessary, the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus, United for Equality and Affirmative Action, and two Detroit-area AFSCME unions. " also says "Groups opposed to Connerly's MCRI said that the ballot's title was misleading and that it was falsely promoted to Michigan voters. According to MCRI opponents, instead of enhancing civil rights, the petition language would have amended existing civil rights clauses within the Michigan constitution so as to end affirmative action and equal opportunity. Further, affirmative action advocates in Michigan say that, if passed, this initiative would have undermined the Supreme Court's ruling in Grutter v. Bollinger and the autonomy of any public college or university in the state, including the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and Wayne State University. Ward Connerly must be kept under constant surveillence in the same way that one watches the first sign of a cancer. His actions must be monitored in all 50 states. We cannot be complacent just because he lost in California and seems to losing in Michigan.

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