CIR fights Proposal 2 delays

Will represent current applicants in federal lawsuit

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Center for Individual Rights filed a motion to intervene in BAMN et al. v. Granholm et al. now pending before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

CIR is asking the court to deny a motion filed a week ago Monday (December 11) by the University of Michigan and two other state universities seeking a federal injunction barring enforcement of Prop. 2 until the conclusion of the 2006-2007 admissions cycle.

CIR is representing Eric Russell, a Michigan resident who has applied to the University of Michigan law school this year. Mr. Russell seeks to have his application considered without regard to his race, as explicitly provided for by the recently amended Michigan Constitution. In addition, CIR is representing Toward a Fair Michigan a group chaired by William Allen, a Michigan State Professor.

In its supporting brief, CIR argues that the federal court lacks authority to set aside the clear language of Prop. 2 absent a showing that there is a substantial likelihood that Prop. 2 is unconstitutional. In its papers, CIR contends that the University’s claims that Prop. 2 is unconstitutional are too speculative to meet the federal standard for enjoining enforcement of Prop. 2.

CIR President Terence J. Pell said, “Eric Russell has a legal right to have his application judged in accordance with the Michigan Constitution as it was amended by the voters this November, not according to a timetable University officials happen to decide is convenient.”

Pell continued, “It does no good to tell Russell and other individuals applying to the UM this year that Prop. 2 won’t take effect until next year. This is to elevate bureaucratic convenience over the clearly stated constitutional right of individuals to never again be judged by race.”

Pell added, “Michigan educators have known about Prop. 2 for some time. Moreover, it does not seem difficult to remove race as a consideration from the 15%-20% of the applications in which it is a factor.”

Eric Russell, one of the named plaintiffs, commented, “I am suing for equal consideration of my application under the new constitutional amendment approved by the majority of the electorate. This lawsuit is not really about me specifically. It is about everyone applying to U of M. They should all receive equal consideration, and no one should be considered above another because of skin color.”