Friday, March 31, 2006

This will be an explosive battle.

Ward Connelly finally got this on the ballot:

Michigan voters will make the next decision in what is shaping up as an emotional and divisive campaign to ban race and gender preferences in university admissions and government hiring and contracting.

On Thursday, the Michigan Supreme Court put an end to the long, litigious and occasionally raucous fight over whether the issue should go on the Nov. 7 ballot. The court decided not to hear arguments on whether the backers of the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative misled people who signed their petitions.

The ballot initiative would amend the state Constitution "to ban affirmative action programs that give preferential treatment to groups or individuals based on their race, gender, color, ethnicity or national origin" in government hiring, contracting and university admissions.

What that would mean in practical terms is a matter of intense disagreement. Backers generally argue it would end the use of race in college admissions decisions like those made regarding applicants to the University of Michigan, and require the government to make race- and gender-neutral decisions. Opponents say the effects would be far-reaching, preventing any consideration in government to provide opportunity to minorities and women.

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