Voters in Nebraska voted by a wide margin to end preferential treatment based on skin color or gender in public education, contracting and employment. Initiative 424 passed 58% to 42%. A similar measure in Colorado narrowly failed to pass, garnering 49% support.
The Nebraska Civil Rights Initiative is patterned after the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, which voters of that state approved in 2006. CIR client Eric Russell’s timely intervention in December of that year derailed legal efforts by opponents designed to delay implementation of the new amendment. CIR continues to represent Russell in the ongoing litigation, one of the most strategically important civil rights cases pending in the country. Last spring, federal district judge David Lawson dismissed the suit, concluding that the amendment did not violate the federal Constitution. That decision has been appealed to the Sixth Circuit.