Michigan Debates Racial Preference

The Michigan Civil Rights Initiative (MCRI)
The Michigan Civil Rights Commission (MCRC) et al.

Table of Contents

The Text of the Constitutional Amendment, Proposed by the MCRI, which would Outlaw Discrimination or Preference based on race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin, by the state in employment, education and public contracting.

Current Michigan Constitutional and Statutory Provisions that Outlaw Discrimination or Preference based on race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin, plus the Escape Clauses that withdraw their protection from whites and males.

The 29 Michigan Statutes that Permit or Require Affirmative Action. Only five would be affected by the MCRI Amendment. Only seven concern the kind of Affirmative Action supported by opponents of the Amendment.

Statements by the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, condemning the MCRI, and supporting Affirmative Action.

An Open Letter from Prof. Carl Cohen, an MCRI Leader, urging the ACLU to embrace the principle of nondiscrimination, and challenging its executive director to debate.

The Ballot Language Approved by the State Board of Canvassers, which will describe the MCRI Amendment in the voting booth. This description radically misrepresents the Amendment's scope.

An OpEd by Michigan's Gov. Jennifer Granholm argues that the amendment conflicts with "our most dearly held values," and would "deny our state the ability to compete for jobs and economic growth in our increasingly global economy."

An Open Letter to Gov. Granholm from Ward Connerly argues that "the pursuit of diversity should never be an excuse . . . to abandon the fundamental principle of equal treatment before the law without regard to the color of a person's skin."

An Official Report by the Michigan Civil Rights Commission accuses MCRI petition solicitors of fraud. According to the Commission, thousands of signatures were obtained by telling people that the amendment favored Affirmative Action.

A Rebuttal by the MCRI denies the validity and legality of the Commission's Report, and of the public hearings on which the Report was based. The Rebuttal points to the Commission's bias against the MCRI, manifest from the beginning of the petition campaign.

Opponents of MCRI Bring Suit in Federal District Court to Exclude the Amendment from the Ballot. In an Evidentiary Hearing, there is testimony for the plaintiffs that signature solicitors misrepresented the Amendment, and testimony for MCRI that solicitors were told to stick to the language of the Amendment when describing it. Here are Excerpts From the Oral Transcript of that Evidentiary Hearing.

In the Final Weeks of the Campaign, the author and co-editor of this website, Curtis Crawford, urges MCRI to stress Two Key Themes.

A Concrete Example of the Issue in this Debate: The Advantage Given to Black and Hispanic Applicants in the competition for admission to the University of Michigan. Computed from the University's data by the Center for Equal Opportunity.

"Nobody who was Anybody supported it; Everybody who was Anybody opposed it." Herewith, compiled by One United Michigan, is a daunting list of Organizations and Individuals arraigned against the Civil Rights Initiative.

Ahead in Two Recent Polls, Behind in Two Others.
Never as Far Ahead in the Pre-Ballot Polling, as in the Actual Vote.

YES 58% NO 42%. In Michigan, November 7, 2006, VICTORY for a splendid American principle: Non-Discrimination, FOR OR AGAINST ANYONE, based on Race, Sex, or National Origin. Complete Returns, showing the Numbers and Percentages of Yes & No Votes for Each County.

"Diversity Matters at Michigan," an Address by President Mary Sue Coleman of the University of Michigan to the University community, on the day after Michigan voters adopted the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative.

"Two Puzzles," An Essay by Curtis Crawford, January 2007:
The MCRI amendment to Michigan's constitution bans state discrimination, based on race or national origin. But such discrimination was already banned.
PUZZLE 1: Why did MCRI fight to prohibit what was already forbidden?
PUZZLE 2: Since the prior bans haven't blocked affirmative action programs, why did supporters of such programs fear the amendment?
Both puzzles have reasonable, though unexpected, solutions.