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.
It's Official: Connerly's Anti-Affirmative Action Initiative on 2006 Michigan Ballot
Feature Story by Tyler Lewis - 12/21/2005The Michigan Court of Appeals issued a ruling December 20 that will allow Ward Connerly's Michigan Civil Rights Initiative (MCRI), an anti-affirmative action initiative, to be placed on the 2006 general election ballot.
The Board had deadlocked on July 19, and again on December 14, in its consideration of MCRI's certification. MCRI would end equal opportunity and affirmative action initiatives in higher education, employment, and contracting in Michigan.
The order comes after the Court ordered the Board to certify the signatures on December 7, despite reports that opposition groups have indicated plans to file an appeal with the State Supreme Court.
Today, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights launched a website (www.civilrights.org/campaigns/michigan/) that provides education and action tools supporting affirmative action and highlighting the potential consequences of Connerly's MCRI. "Connerly can call his initiative whatever he wants to, but everyone knows a skunk, no matter what you call it, is still a skunk," said LCCR Executive Director Wade Henderson. "Michigan voters are too savvy to be fooled by word games. Once voters discover the true intent of MCRI, it doesn't stand a chance."
One United Michigan/Michigan United (OUM/MU), a diverse and growing coalition of more than 60 mainstream Michigan organizations representing women's groups, educators, business groups, religious organizations, racial and ethnic minority groups, and labor, has developed a public education campaign to educate voters on the benefits of affirmative action and equal opportunity programs, and the potential consequences of Connerly's initiative.
Many critics of Connerly's initiative have cited the severe consequences and setbacks in which universities, employers, and contractors in California and Washington have faced since enactment of anti-affirmative ballot initiatives, Proposition 209 and Initiative 200. Marvin Krislov, the University of Michigan general counsel said in a Knight Ridder article, "It's unfortunate that there's an attempt to import an experiment from California that hasn't been terribly successful."
The leading Michigan Republican candidates for the 2006 gubernatorial and U.S. senate races have come out against MCRI.
Connerly is best known as the businessman and former University of California regent who successfully led anti-affirmative action ballot initiatives in California (1996) and Washington (1998). Following the Grutter v. Bollinger decision in 2003, which upheld diversity as a compelling state interest that would support affirmative action programs, as well as the consideration of race as one of many factors in higher education admissions, Connerly and affirmative action opponents switched their focus to Michigan.
Connerly initially aimed to qualify the initiative for the November 2004 ballot. However, several months before the election, a Michigan judge held that the anti-affirmative action initiative was "blatantly in direct conflict" with the Michigan Constitution and did not fully inform voters of its effect. In the wake of legal challenges resulting in a failure to garner the requisite number of signatures, Connerly postponed his 2004 petition drive, vowing to try again for the 2006 ballot.