CIR expects to dismiss Washtenaw case against Michigan universities

Federal lawsuit continues

Washington DC: The Center for Individual Rights expects later today to file a stipulated order to dismiss a case filed earlier this month against the University of Michigan and Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm as part of CIR’s effort to secure immediate implementation of Michigan’s new constitutional amendment that prohibits the consideration of race in state college admissions.

The dismissal comes in the wake of the University of Michigan’s January 10 decision to immediately comply with the new amendment by eliminating race and gender as factors in admissions.

According to CIR President Terence Pell, “The University of Michigan has unequivocally represented to the Washtenaw County Court that it will comply with Section 26, as indeed it must. We hope that the University officials will stand by this decision. Given their previous resistance to the will of the voters, however, we will continue to monitor carefully their compliance in the pending federal court proceedings.“

Charles J. Cooper, partner of Cooper & Kirk, PLLC, CIR’s co-counsel in this matter, stated, “Today’s action recognizes that the University of Michigan has taken a significant step toward coming into compliance with the law. We hope that they have given up their efforts to fight the Amendment for good. If indeed they have, this is good news for the citizens of Michigan.”

CIR and Cooper & Kirk are representing Eric Russell, a 29 year old resident of Michigan who is applying to the UM Law School. Russell said, “I am pleased that the University of Michigan apparently has recognized its obligation to uphold the Michigan Constitution, including the new section barring the use of racial preferences.”

The Washtenaw County case was filed on January 2, 2007, immediately after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit had lifted a federal injunction barring enforcement of the new amendment until July 1, 2007. The state suit challenged the University’s expressed belief that the new amendment did not bar the continued use of race in college admission systems that adhered to the Supreme Court’s 2003 decision in Grutter v. Bollinger. The Washtenaw County case asked the state court to rule that the new amendment prohibited Michigan colleges from using race and gender at all in admissions and financial aid.