The Leadership Conference is working diligently to see that Tom Perez is confirmed as U.S. Secretary of Labor. Perez is an eminently qualified public servant and consensus builder who has dedicated his career to ensuring that all individuals are treated fairly and have the opportunity to succeed. He has served with integrity and distinction at the local, state and national level, compiling an outstanding record of achievement.
Despite Threats in Courthouse and State House, Anti-Affirmative Action Ballot Initiative in Michigan at Standstill
Feature Story by Ritu Kelotra - 6/14/2004On Friday, June 11, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled in support of a petition drive for the so-called "Michigan Civil Rights Initiative" (MCRI).
Sponsored by California businessman Ward Connerly, MCRI aims to ban the use of affirmative action policies in the state through an amendment to the state constitution. The court overruled a lower court ruling that the petition did not state its intent in compliance with electoral law.
The broad-based coalition Citizens For a United Michigan (CFUM) and other supporters of affirmative action said they will appeal the ruling to the Michigan Supreme Court.
Despite the appeals court's ruling, Connerly will likely not move forward with plans for his anti-affirmative action initiative this year. In addition to facing court challenges, the MCRI campaign is lacking the needed signatures in order to qualify for the ballot. In late May, the campaign conceded that it will no longer attempt to meet the requirements for this November.
The MCRI campaign is expected to make an announcement this week regarding its plans to attempt to qualify the initiative for the 2006 ballot.
Leaders of MCRI also pushed their agenda through legislative action. On Wednesday, June 9, the Michigan State House adopted (57-44) an amendment that would cut state funding to universities that use affirmative action policies. The amendment was attached to the House version of the state's Higher Education Appropriations bill.
State Rep. Leon Drolet, who also is campaign leader for MCRI, sponsored the amendment.
Critics of the legislative amendment and MCRI say that offering the provision was a desperate strategy to target affirmative action and the University of Michigan, and acts as a means to circumvent challenges the ballot initiative is facing.
The future of the amendment adopted by the House remains uncertain, since the Senate version does not include such a provision. According to news reports, state Senate leadership is inclined to remove the language in conference committee.