CIR urges court to end Michigan Prop. 2 challenge

Co-counsel Cooper to appear at hearing

On Wednesday, February 6 2008, CIR co-counsel Charles J. Cooper will urge U.S. Federal District Court Judge David Lawson to reject all pending legal challenges to Prop. 2 as a matter of law. Together with CIR, Cooper is representing Eric Russell, a Michigan resident who moved to intervene in the case in December 2006.

Russell contends that the U.S. Constitution does not prevent the citizens of Michigan from amending their constitution to forbid the use of racial preferences in state programs such as admission to the state universities.

According to Cooper, “Far from prohibiting race neutral treatment, the federal Constitution all but requires it. The existence of certain limited exceptions to this rule does not mean the citizens of Michigan are required to avail themselves of those exceptions.

Cooper added, “Our opponents erroneously believe that ending race preferences constitutes race discrimination. In fact, the opposite is true — race preferences are a form of race discrimination that the citizens of Michigan wisely have ended.”

Should Judge Lawson decide to permit the challenges to go to trial, Cooper will ask Judge Lawson to order the University defendants (UM, MSU, Wayne State) to provide previously requested data on the admissions and academic performance of students broken down by race and gender.

Preliminary data strongly suggests that minority students admitted on the basis of preferential admissions policies do substantially worse than other students. Conversely, the date also shows that minority students admitted on the basis of the same standards as everyone else do better than predicted.

CIR President Terence Pell commented, “The preliminary data suggests that the problem in Michigan is not minority underperformance, but the use of discriminatory admissions standards to select minority students. When minority students are judged by the same standards as everyone else, they perform the same — or better — than everyone else.”

Other parties to the litigation include a Michigan advocacy organization known as “BAMN,” a group of individuals represented by the ACLU, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Inc., and others, three Michigan colleges and universities, the Governor and the Attorney General of Michigan. With the exception of BAMN, the other parties are also asking Judge Lawson to decide the case on the basis of the law without going to trial. BAMN will ask Judge Lawson to order a full trial.