Court upholds Michigan's Prop. 2
Says voters did not violate U.S. Constitution
In a major victory for Center for Individual Rights client Eric Russell, U.S. District Court Judge David Lawson
today upheld Michigan's Prop. 2.
In a 55 page opinion Lawson said Michigan voters did not violate the U.S. Constitution when they voted to ban
racial preferences in all state programs.
Lawson's ruling follows a protracted legal battle between a Michigan advocacy organization called "BAMN",
the ACLU, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Inc., Michigan's Governor and its three major universities allied
against the Michigan Attorney General and the Center for Individual Rights.
In today's ruling, Judge Lawson rejected two major challenges to Prop. 2.
First, the BAMN group of plaintiffs challenged Prop. 2 on the grounds that it was passed with a discriminatory
intent and would have a disparate impact on minorities by reducing the number of minority students attending
Michigan colleges and universities. Second, the ACLU/NAACP plaintiffs challenged Prop. 2 on the grounds
that it places an undue burden on the ability of minority groups to effect changes in policy because it alters the
political structure with regard to the use of racial preferences.
Lawson ruled that Prop. 2 was passed for a variety of non discrimintoyr reasons, including the view that racial
preferences are harmful to minority students. He said, "To impugn the motives of 58% of Michigan's electorate,
in the absence of extraordinary circumstances which to not exit here, simply is not warranted on this record." p.
Lawson also ruled that while Prop. 2 makes it more difficult for minority citizens to obtain preferential
treatment it does not make it more difficult for minorities to achieve "equal protection." As such, Prop. 2 does
not impose an unconstitutional political burden on minorities. Lawson followed the reasoning employed by the
Ninth Circuit when it upheld California's Prop. 209 against a similar challenge. He quoted with approval