Monday, November 20, 2006

Diversity forever 

John Fund notes how the pro-affirimative action activists in Michigan are railing against Proposition 2's passage there.
Mary Sue Coleman is president of the University of Michigan, which has already spent millions of taxpayers' dollars defending its racial preferences in courts. She addressed what Tom Bray of the Detroit News called "a howling mob of hundreds of student and faculty protestors" last week. "Diversity matters at Michigan," she declared. "It matters today, and it will matter tomorrow." Echoes of George Wallace, who in 1963 declared from the steps of Alabama's Capitol: "I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever."

Ms. Coleman isn't the only Michigan official to employ Wallace-style rhetoric against MCRI. Detroit's Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick told a fundraiser last April that the measure would usher in an era of racial prejudice. "Bring it on!" he bellowed. "We will affirm to the world that affirmative action will be here today, it will be here tomorrow, and there will be affirmative action in the state forever."
Later in the artile we read of attempts to intimidate voters and canvassers who had to certify placing the initiative on the ballot.

John Rosenberg highlights an article by Scott Gerber discussing the use of initiative and referendum as "popular constitutionalism". Gerber writes,
I became interested in learning how proponents of popular constitutionalism felt about Prop 2 after a colleague posted on ConLawProf, a professional internet discussion list to which I subscribe (geared to constitutional law professors, as its name suggests), that a lawsuit had been filed by a pro-affirmative action group called �By Any Means Necessary,� or �BAMN� for short, requesting that a court invalidate the November 7 decision by the people of Michigan. On the one hand, Prop 2 is precisely what popular constitutionalists had envisioned: the people of Michigan had defined what the state�s constitution means. On the other hand, most popular constitutionalists are on the political Left and are very strong supporters of affirmative action.
While the Left may like popular constitutionalism in many places, it fights very hard for maintaining judicial review as a means of keeping power in the hands of the state. It battles ceaselessly and 'by any means necessary' to keep amendments in check, to use the courts to invalidate electoral results, etc. It did so with Proposition 187 in California 12 years ago, and has followed that method ever since.