In a blow to affirmative action supporters, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled on Friday that petitions for a ballot initiative to end affirmative action in the state are valid. This decision overturns a lower court ruling that the petitions did not comply with election laws, and that the language used on the so-called Civil Rights Initiative misleads voters. The group has been attempting to gather enough signatures to place an initiative on the 2004 ballot that would amend the state constitution, banning policies aimed at increasing opportunities for women and people of color. Namely, the group, led by strident affirmative action opponent Ward Connerly, aims to ban affirmative action in college admissions, government hiring, and public contracting
Opponents of the ballot initiative and some supporters believe that with the delays caused by the court case, the group will not be able to collect the required 317,757 signatures needed by the July 6 deadline to get on the 2004 ballot, according to the Associated Press. In fact, earlier this month, affirmative action opponents in Michigan conceded that their intent now is to qualify for the 2006 ballot.
Affirmative action supporters intend to appeal the Court of Appeals ruling to the state Supreme Court.