By Black Radio Network Staff
Detroit— Michigan's ban on using race and gender as a factor in admission to public colleges and universities was overturned Friday by a federal appeals court, which said the voter-approved measure harms minorities and is unconstitutional.
The two to one ruling came in a suit filed by the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary (BAMN) and by 59 black, Latino/a and Native American students and prospective students.
George Washington, who represented BAMN in the Sixth Circuit said, “The Sixth Circuit held that Michigan could not manipulate the political process by making it impossible for racial minorities to seek admission programs that benefited them while allowing every other group to seek any admission program that they wanted.”
Black Radio Network spoke with Washington on what the ruling means:
Shanta Driver, the National Chairperson and one of the attorneys for BAMN, said “This decision means that thousands of talented black, Latino/a, and Native American students will now have the chance to receive an education at the state’s best universities. It is a great victory for students and for the New Civil Rights Movement.”
Proposal 2 was adopted in a racially divided vote in a statewide referendum in November 2006. Nine out of ten black voters voted against the Proposal, but it carried by a 58 percent margin because white voters voted for it by two to one.
BAMN has a challenge pending in the Ninth Circuit against the California version of the same law (Proposition 209). Washington said, “The Sixth Circuit’s decision today applies to Proposition 209 and means that the Ninth Circuit has to reexamine its 1996 decision upholding that Proposition. Affirmative action is back on the agenda for the whole country.”
BAMN has asked Governor Jerry Brown, who is a defendant in the California lawsuit to support BAMN’s challenge to Proposition 209.