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  1. #1
    Hannibal's Avatar
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    Prop 2 passes, banning affirmitive action

    DETROIT (AP) -- Courts could play a major role in figuring out the effects of Michigan's Proposal 2, a voter-approved measure to end race and gender preferences in some government and public university affirmative action programs.

    With 98 percent of precincts reporting early Wednesday, 58 percent, or 2,090,066 people voted "yes" on Proposal 2, and 42 percent, or 1,519,942 voters, were opposed.

    The University of Michigan, the most high-profile public institution affected by the constitutional amendment, scheduled a Wednesday news conference to discuss the proposal's ramifications. The university might again have to alter how it includes race in determining which students it admits, according to a pre-election analysis by the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan.

    The proposal was prompted by a 2003 U.S. Supreme Court decision that upheld a general affirmative action policy at the University of Michigan's law school but struck down the undergraduate admission formula as too rigid because it awarded points based on race.

    The Citizens Research Council review said it does not appear the proposal's impact would be as significant for undergraduate admissions at other Michigan public universities, but it's harder to tell if preferences are used for graduate schools and law schools. If a university has gender-based preferences within specific programs -- such as a nursing school program that favors male applicants -- those likely would be banned.

    The research council said it's likely lawsuits will be filed to test the boundaries of certain state and local government programs that may use affirmative action. That could include some local government contracting programs that give preferences to women and minorities.

    "We know there will be lawsuit after lawsuit filed," said David Waymire, a spokesman for an opposition group called One United Michigan.

    The ballot drive was led by Jennifer Gratz, a white student from suburban Detroit who says she was turned away from the University of Michigan in 1995. She says if she had been black, American Indian or Hispanic, she would have been admitted. Gratz was involved in the initial lawsuit against the university.

    Early Wednesday, Gratz said she expected her fight to end race and gender preferences in Michigan would continue within the next few days. She also suggested that other states could be targeted for similar proposals.

    California and Washington have passed similar measures in the past decade.

    "I take it as the people of Michigan told big business, big labor and big government -- judge us on our merits. Don't judge us on our skin color," Gratz said. "We will continue this fight across the nation."

    Gratz heads a group called the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative. The effort was aided by Ward Connerly, a Californian and one of the nation's most visible opponents of race and gender preferences.

    Connerly's Sacramento-based group, the American Civil Rights Coalition, was a major financial backer of the proposal.

    A majority of voters who said their families were getting ahead financially supported the proposal, according to a statistical analysis of the vote from voter interviews conducted for The Associated Press by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International. A majority of those who said they were falling behind financially were opposed.

    Voters who identified themselves as Republicans tended to favor the proposal. Those who considered themselves Democrats tended to oppose it.

    The proposal was opposed by both Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Republican challenger Dick DeVos. The opposition group One United Michigan drew wide support from a coalition of business, labor, education, religious and other groups.

    Supporters of Proposal 2 said affirmative action programs based on preferences had strayed from their original purpose or were no longer needed.

    "I think they helped," said John Williams, 70, of Holt, who voted in favor of the proposal. "It's sort of like unions. They were essential at one time but have outlived their usefulness." Other voters disagreed, saying women and minorities have not reached equality with white men and the affirmative action programs were needed.

    Janet Wimberly, a 50-year-old who owns a consulting and training business in Royal Oak, said she voted against the proposal. She cited her past experience working as an engineer for General Motors Corp. and Chrysler Group.

    "I was the only black and the only female in both positions," she said. "So that right there lets you know something."

    The campaigns squabbled over what would and would not be banned by Proposal 2.

    Gratz's group said single-sex public schools, as long as opportunities exist for both boys and girls, would be OK. Math and science outreach programs that target girls would have to be adjusted to include opportunities for boys.

    The proposal doesn't ban affirmative action programs based on geography or income. Programs that are needed to qualify a local government for federal funding may not be affected. It does not ban any affirmative action programs at private businesses or organizations, although opponents worry employers would scrap their programs if government is forced to do so.

    But judging by what happened in California, courts will have to sort out gray areas and deal with many challenges that likely will be dismissed.

    One United Michigan ran an ad saying that in California, funding for cervical and breast cancer screenings were put at risk because they were for women only.

    A lawsuit filed in California by a group not affiliated with the ballot proposal sought to challenge a wide variety of programs for women, but it was dismissed by the court. The cancer screening programs continue in California.

    "Stupid should hurt."

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    Shall be interesting.
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    TXCharlie's Avatar
    TXCharlie is offline Former & Future Reserve Officer
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    Good - Too many qualified people and superior companies have been discriminated against, because of racial & gender quotas in colleges, employment and in awarding government contracts.

    I've also heard of companies promoting a minority "straw man" or woman to President, Chairman of the Board, and other key positions just so they can win government contracts - Then a year or so later the person leaves with a big fat severence package, or is replaced - It's a sham.

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    Affirmative Action, while it did have it's place in history, has become an old worn-out machine, and is now the most racist policy in the US today.
    The virtue of spirit has no need for thanks or approval. Only the certain conviction that what has been done is right. -Jor El, as played by Marlon Brando

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    You'll notice we did it here in California first!
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