The Right Coast
July 24, 2005
Michigan Civil Rights Initiative Dealt Set Back by State Board
By Gail Heriot
The proposed Michigan Civil Rights Initiative , which is modeled after California's Proposition 209, was dealt a blow by the highly-politicized Michigan Board of Canvassers last week. Initiative supporters had gathered 100,000 more valid signatures than they needed to put the measure on the ballot. Furthermore, the Michigan Attorney General had opined that the only basis on which the Board of Canvassers could refuse to certify an initiative for the ballot would be the failure to gather the requisite number of valid signatures. According to the Attorney General, it was not within the Board's power to consider why voters choose to sign the petitions. Nevertheless, the Board declined to certify the initiative.
It's unclear why it refused, but after a six-hour circus-like meeting (complete with lefty loonies from BAMN), one member of the board apppeared to be swayed by an argument that the signatories couldn't possibly have understood what they were signing, because some of the signatories were black and no black person could possibly oppose racial preferences.
Yes, there will be (more) litigation. Initiative supporters continue to be optimistic.