Neb. Judge Rejects Affirmative Action Ban Lawsuit

Anna Jo Bratton, AP, January 22, 2009

A Nebraska judge on Thursday rejected a lawsuit that challenged the petition that led to a statewide ban on affirmative action.

Voters approved the initiative in November, after opponents of the effort filed the lawsuit in Lancaster County District Court.

The constitutional amendment never uses the words “affirmative action.” But it prohibits state and local governments from giving preferential treatment to people on the basis of race, sex, ethnicity or national origin.

The lawsuit challenged the validity of petition signatures, saying some were gathered using a “pattern of fraud and illegality.”

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Secretary of State John Gale determined that the initiative had 24,000 more valid signatures that it needed to make it on the November ballot. The measure won 58 percent of the vote.

If the lawsuit had been successful, it could have invalidated the law.

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The lawsuit was filed on behalf of University of Nebraska-Lincoln student Jeff Hall.

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