November 14, 2012
BAMN HAILS SIXTH CIRCUIT DECISION STRIKING DOWN MICHIGAN’S BAN ON AFFIRMATIVE ACTION
The entire en banc panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit today ruled by a vote of eight to seven that Michigan Proposal 2’s ban on affirmative action in college admissions violated the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
Shanta Driver, the National Chair of BAMN and one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs in the case, said “We have today won another great victory for black, Latina/o and Native American students and for civil rights. The movement of young black, Latina/o and anti-racist white students that filled the courtrooms and organized the campuses won this victory. We will now defend this victory in the Supreme Court and we will make it real by winning back affirmative action at Michigan and at the state’s other leading public universities.”
George Washington, the BAMN attorney who argued the case for the plaintiffs in the Sixth Circuit, said “The Big Lie told by the supporters of Proposal 2 is that grades and test scores are a neutral means for judging merit. But that system is openly biased against black, Latino and Native American applicants. Affirmative action ended the de facto segregation at major universities and it is even more essential today as we become a majority minority country.
Washington said the decision has enormous importance for the entire country. Five other states have adopted similar laws, including California. He said the Supreme Court is now virtually certain to grant review.
Driver said “We can now at long last strike down Proposal 2, California’s Proposition 209 and all the laws that are preventing highly-qualified black and Latina/o students from attending the most selective colleges and universities in the country.”
The attorneys, the plaintiffs and students at the University of Michigan will also hold a press conference and rally at the Michigan Union in Ann Arbor at P.M.
We have attached a chronology of this case and a fact sheet detailing the effects of Proposal 2.
Contacts: Shanta Driver 313-407-4865
George Washington 313-963-1921 (O) 313-715-4886 (C)
Monica Smith 313-585-3637
COALITION TO DEFEND AFFIRMATIVE ACTION, INTEGRATION AND IMMIGRANT RIGHTS AND TO FIGHT FOR EQUALITY BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY (BAMN).
CHRONOLOGY OF THE FIGHT FOR AFFIRMATIVE ACTION AT MICHIGAN
April 1, 1970—Black Action Movement (BAM) strike at the University of Michigan wins agreement with President Robben Fleming and Regents to increase black enrollment to ten percent of the student body by 1973. Black student enrollment at the University of Michigan increases from 3.5 percent in 1970 to 7.3 percent in 1973.
December 1997—Anti-affirmative action groups file suit in United States District Court claiming that the University of Michigan’s affirmative action program violates the Fourteenth Amendment.
June 23, 2003—United States Supreme Court upholds University of Michigan Law School affirmative action plan in Grutter v. Bollinger while striking down Michigan’s undergraduate affirmative action plan in Gratz v. Bollinger.
June 25, 2003—Ward Connerly announces petition drive amend state constitution to outlaw affirmative action.
Summer 2003—University of Michigan announces that it will continue affirmative action programs by adopting Law School plan in all schools at the University.
July 2004—Connerly’s supporters forced to withdraw their petitions after BAMN legal challenge and organizing frustrates fund raising.
August 29, 2006—United States District Courts find that anti-affirmative action forces have used widespread, racially-targeted fraud to secure signatures on their petitions, but allows vote to proceed.
November 7, 2006—Michigan Proposal 2, outlawing affirmative action, passes by 58 to 42 percent. Exit polls on behalf of NBC, Fox and other networks show 9 out of 10 black voters cast votes against Proposal 2 while two of three white voters cast ballots for it.
November 8, 2006—BAMN files suit asserting that Proposal 2 violates the Fourteenth Amendment.
January 22, 2007—ACLU and others file suit against Proposal 2. Case consolidated with BAMN challenge.
August 2007—current date—Minority enrollment falls by one third and more in entering classes at the University of Michigan.
March 18, 2008–United States District Court upholds Proposal 2.
July 1, 2011—Sixth Circuit panel holds that Proposal 2 is unconstitutional
September 9, 2011–Sixth Circuit grants en banc review.
March 7, 2012—Oral argument on challenge to Proposal 2. Hundreds of black, Latina/o and Native American students from Southeastern Michigan fill the courtroom.
November 15, 2012 5—Sixth Circuit decides by a vote of eight to seven that Proposal 2’s ban on affirmative action in college admissions violates the Fourteenth Amendment.
– Monica R. Smith (313) 585-3637 (cell) UEAALDF* & BAMN** Attorney and Organizer *United for Equality and Affirmative Action Legal Defense Fund **The Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary