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One judge nixes Ward Connerly proposal in Michigan, another does not

A campaign to put affirmative action before voters this fall was dealt a major setback Thursday [25 March] when a Lansing [Michigan] judge said the petition wording violates state election law.

Ingham County Judge Paula Manderfield ordered the four-member Board of State Canvassers to rescind its December approval of the petition to ban racial preferences in college admissions and government hiring.

The judge found the proposed amendment would add a new section to the state constitution without clarifying that it would alter an existing anti-discrimination section, as required by law. -- Judge: Race petition illegal (Ann Arbor News, 26 March)

A Wayne County judge on Friday denied a request from two attorneys to stop a petition drive to place a proposal on the state ballot to ban racial preferences in college admissions and government hiring.

Circuit Judge Susan Borman ruled that it is premature to rule on the constitutionality of a proposed initiative that may or may not be placed on the November ballot.

After Borman dismissed the case, attorneys Milton R. Henry of Bloomfield Hills and Godfrey J. Dillard of Detroit said that they would take their case to federal court. -- Judge won't halt petitions (Ann Arbor News, 27 March)

The state attorney general said Tuesday that his office plans to appeal a lower court ruling that a state board shouldn't have approved petition forms being circulated by a group trying to end affirmative action at Michigan's public universities and other public agencies.

Mike Cox said if Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Paula Manderfield's ruling last week is allowed to stand, it will impair citizens' rights to petition to change the state constitution.

"The lower court's standard for amending the constitution creates too onerous a burden on those who choose to engage in democratic debate," he said in a news release. "The language of the petitions in question clearly meets the test established by Michigan's courts." -- Cox to appeal affirmative-action petition ruling (AP via Ann Arbor News)

The proposal can be found on the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative website.