In 2006 Michigan voters took to the polls and passed the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative as an amendment to their state’s constitution. The amendment in part says that the state, any public university or college:
shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.
The amendment passed 58% to 42%, and became section 26 of article 1 in the Michigan constitution.
The amendment was intended to end the practice of taking race and gender into consideration when deciding who gets a state job or into a state university, a practice known as affirmative action. Affirmative action is by definition racism, but proponents would argue that it is a good racism which has the goal of balancing previous racism. Maybe their mother never told them that two wrongs don’t make a right. Racism was wrong then, it is wrong now, the voters of Michigan recognized that.
But in steps the courts, the Federal 6th district to be exact. Yesterday they overturned the state constitutional amendment 2-1 stating that it was unconstitutional. Hmm, a constitutional amendment is unconstitutional? As a federal court they determined that the amendment to the Michigan state constitution was not in line with the federal constitution (maybe they should re-read the 10th amendment).
What exactly do they claim is unconstitutional about an amendment that says you cannot discriminate? They claim that it violates the 14th amendment’s equal protection clause. Yes, the same constitutional amendment passed shortly after the civil war in an effort to end discrimination, is used to strike down a state amendment prohibiting discrimination.
The 6th district covers Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee and Kentucky, so the decision does not affect the three other states, California, Nebraska and Washington who have laws prohibiting racism through affirmative action. But the next step is likely the supreme court, which could overturn similar laws nationwide.
If there is any question about whether affirmative action is wrong, just look at your favorite college basketball team and ask yourself, ‘should race be taken into consideration in making the team? Should a white player with less talent replace a black player with more talent in an effort to make the team racial profile more consistent with that of the college campus?’ That same question was posed to affirmative action supporters on campus:
What does affirmative action look like in a down economy when no hiring is taking place, well it may look like this:
Racism is wrong, no matter who it is targeting.