Affirmative Action Vote Sought

Mark Hornbeck, Detroit News, Nov. 1

LANSING—A constitutional amendment banning racial preferences in university admissions and government hiring was ordered on next year’s statewide ballot by an appellate court Monday.

A three-member panel of the Michigan Court of Appeals directed the Board of State Canvassers to place the controversial proposal on the November 2006 ballot.

After an emotional seven-hour debate in July, the board deadlocked over certifying a half-million petition signatures gathered to put the affirmative action ban before voters.

“We had faith in the process. We knew we would prevail,” said Jennifer Gratz, who is heading the campaign on behalf of the proposal.

“Voters should have a say over whether government can use race as a factor in public employment, education and contracting.”

By Any Means Necessary, a national group that opposes the racial preference ban, vowed to appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court.

“The irony is that in the week when the country is paying tribute to Rosa Parks, this is an effort to turn Michigan civil rights efforts back to pre-1950 levels,” said David Waymire, spokesman for One United Michigan, a coalition of business, labor, religious and political groups opposed to the plan.

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