A federal court judge dismissed yesterday in a lawsuit looking to overturn Proposal 2, a ballot initiative which banned the use of race- and gender-based affirmative action at public institutions in the state of Michigan in Nov. 2006.
The case, Cantrell v. Granholm, was filed by several high school and college students who claim the ban is unconstitutional because it goes against the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.
The plaintiffs, including the pro-affirmative action group By Any Means Necessary, argued that Michigan colleges should be allowed to consider race and gender in admissions decisions.
LSA junior Maricruz Lopez, co-chair of BAMN and a vice presidential candidate for the Defend Affirmative Action Party in the Michigan Student Assembly elections taking place today and tomorrow, said she was distraught when she heard the news.
“This is definitely disappointing, and to me it’s very offensive,” Lopez said.
She said she was “100 percent confident” the ban will ultimately be overturned, saying it could go to the nation’s highest court.
“We are anticipating that we’re going to end up all the way at the U.S. Supreme Court with this case because it’s so important,” Lopez said. “We’re not going to accept having segregated campuses and we’re not going to accept having second-class treatment anymore.”
BAMN attorney George Washington said the group plans to file an appeal today.
“We think it’s an outrageous decision,” he said. “This is a law that was designed to exclude black, Latino, and Native American students. To uphold it without even giving those students a day in court is outrageous.”
At a hearing last month attorney Margaret Nelson argued on behalf of Attorney General Mike Cox that Proposal 2 eliminates race- and gender-based discrimination.
She said the plaintiffs weren’t seeking protection from discrimination but preferential treatment in the admissions process instead.
When Proposal 2 passed in Michigan with 58 percent of the vote in Nov. 2006, other states, including California and Texas, had already passed similar proposals. None of the bans have been overturned.