Michigan Again, Again
Discriminations, John Rosenberg, Jun. 10
In a surprise move, the lower house of the Michigan legislature voted 57-44 on Wednesday to cut off state funding to any universities that use racial preference in admitting students.
Some of the responses were predictable, if no less pathetic for that.
Rep. Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing, voted against the amendment because she said it goes against last summer’s Supreme Court ruling that race can be factored into admissions so long as there’s no point system.
“But this says, ‘It doesn’t matter what the Supreme Court said about race preference, we’re going to take away your state appropriation,’” she said. “It’s a terrible policy.”
In other words, if a state chooses not to do something that the Supreme Court has said that it may in its discretion choose to do, it will be “going against” the Supreme Court? So this means, I assume, that if the Supreme Court continues to hold that the death penalty is not unconstitutional, Rep. Gretchen Whitmer would say Michigan must continue executing people, that ending capital punishment would be “going against” the Supreme Court. Don’t hold your breath.
BAMN also contributed the careful yet nuanced analysis for which it has become known:
Luke Massie, national co-chairman of the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration & Immigrant Rights And Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary [BAMN], said the budget amendment will not pass.
I’m assuming this is something (Gov. Jennifer) Granholm would veto,” Massie said. “The real question is, ‘What racist Republicans are working to shore up a racist vote for George Bush?’
Some Democrats, sinking to BAMN’s level, made the same point. For example, as reported in the Detroit Free Press, “Democratic Rep. Julie Dennis of Muskegon called the amendment racist.”
Commenting on the assertion that his proposal would end all affirmative action (see discussion of this point in my immediately preceding post), state rep. Leon Drolet commented:
“If opponents think all affirmative action is is to give preferential treatment based on race, then this is in fact getting rid of it,” Drolet said. “We’re just asking schools to look for the best and brightest kids and not their appearance.”
But hey, look at the bright side. Imagine what this debate would be like if racial preferences were “divisive” and and weren’t so “inclusive” and effective at “bringing us all together.”
The Michigan Issue Again
Discriminations, John Rosenberg, Jun. 9
The Michigan Court of Appeals heard arguments on Tuesday about whether the petition circulated by the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative was deficient because, as BAMN claimed (successfully in one lower court, not in another), that it misled voters by not making clear it “would alter and abrogate the equal protections provision of the Michigan Constitution.”
In the spirit of we report/you decide, let’s look at the record. Here is the current anti-discrimination provision of the Michigan Constitution:
• 2 Equal protection; discrimination.
No person shall be denied the equal protection of the laws; nor shall any person be denied the enjoyment of his civil or political rights or be discriminated against in the exercise thereof because of religion, race, color or national origin. The legislature shall implement this section by appropriate legislation.
Here is the operative language of the proposed Michigan Civil Rights Initiative:
1. The University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Wayne State University, and any other public college or university, community college, or school district shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.
2. The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.
I would love to hear, from a damnbamner or anyone else, exactly how and where the latter would “alter and abrogate” the former.
And let me add one more query to this request for explanation. Preferentialists (somehow) believe that the current Michigan constitutional bar against discrimination based on race does not prevent giving preferences to some individuals based on their race. That same constitutional provision also bars discrimination based on religion. Do preferentialist believe that it would not violate that provision to give preferences to some applicants to state schools based on their religion? Jews are “overrepresented” on the faculty of the Michigan law school. Would it be constitutional to refuse to hire more Jews until there had been a satisfactory increase in the number of law professors who belong to “underrepresented” religious groups?