Michigan and popular constituionalism/political question - white ethnics and their historical route to political and economic power.

Barksdale, Yvette 7barksda at jmls.edu
Thu Nov 9 15:37:55 PST 2006


One of the major ways in which most traditionally excluded white ethnic
groups (Irish, Italians, Slavics, etc) achieved middle class status is
through political power in state and local government which permitted
them to distribute government perks and benefits (jobs, political
offices, etc.) to their ethnic community.  The community members then
used their newfound clout to climb up the economic ladder. Certainly,
this was the case in large cities such as Chicago and New York. 

 

Question - if told that those historical routes to the middle class
would likely have been closed off by this amendment, do you think most
of the "yes" voters would have still voted for  it?

 

yb 

***/////////////////////////////////////////***

 

Professor Yvette M. Barksdale

The John Marshall Law School

315 S. Plymouth Ct. 

Chicago, IL 60604

(312) 427-2737 (phone)

(312) 427-9974 (fax)

 

***/////////////////////////////////////////***

-----Original Message-----
From: conlawprof-bounces at lists.ucla.edu
[mailto:conlawprof-bounces at lists.ucla.edu] On Behalf Of M. Sean Fosmire
Sent: Thursday, November 09, 2006 5:29 PM
To: CONLAWPROF at lists.ucla.edu
Subject: Re: Michigan and popular constituionalism/political question

 

I would respectfully disagree with the characterizations made by Prof.
Watry and Prof. Rose on this issue. Their position is the one most
commonly heard today by those who opposed the measure: The voters
approved Proposal 2 because they did not understand it. I think they
understood it just fine. 

 

Here is the text as it appeared on the ballot. You may draw your own
conclusions. 

 

PROPOSAL 06-2

A PROPOSAL TO AMEND THE STATE CONSTITUTION TO BAN AFFIRMATIVE ACTION
PROGRAMS THAT GIVE PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT TO GROUPS OR INDIVIDUALS BASED
ON THEIR RACE, GENDER, COLOR, ETHNICITY OR NATIONAL ORIGIN FOR PUBLIC
EMPLOYMENT, EDUCATION OR CONTRACTING PURPOSES 

The proposed constitutional amendment would:

* Ban public institutions from using affirmative action programs that
give preferential treatment to groups or individuals based on their
race, gender, color, ethnicity or national origin for public employment,
education or contracting purposes. Public institutions affected by the
proposal include state government, local governments, public colleges
and universities, community colleges and school districts. 

* Prohibit public institutions from discriminating against groups or
individuals due to their gender, ethnicity, race, color or national
origin. (A separate provision of the state constitution already
prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color or national
origin.) 

M. Sean Fosmire 
hatgem at gmail.com
Marquette, Michigan 
---------------------------------

On 11/9/06, Bill Rose <wrose at albion.edu> wrote: 

I would confirm Professor Watry's characterization of the popular
confusion around what Proposal 2 was "banning."  Most students that I 
come into contact with believe that the University of Michigan
maintained a race-based quota system to foster preferential treatment of
racial minorities.  They were opposed to that, and, I suspect, voted on
Proposal 2 accordingly.

I believe the proponents of Proposal 2 sought to exploit such
confusions - arguing that diversity programs at the U of M Law School
and elsewhere were 'covers' for race-based preferential programs. 



William Rose
Associate Professor of Political Science and
Director of the Law, Justice, & Society Concentration
Albion College
Albion, Michigan  49224

>>> Ruth Ann Watry < rwatry at nmu.edu> 11/09/06 12:13 PM >>>
I live in Michigan, and have to state that one large reason that the
ballot
initiative passed in Michigan was that the wording was so confusing, 
many
people voted to ban affirmative action, believing that they were voting
in
favor of it. In addition, it was sold as a policy of getting rid of
quotas
(although we know those have been unconstitutional for years) so there 
were
additional voters who merely believed that they were voting to get rid
of
quotas.   Interestingly, both our Republican and Democratic candidate
for
governor were against it.



I spoke against the ballot initiative in several venues, an in every 
case
had audience members who came up and thanked me - because they were
initially in favor of banning affirmative action, now that they
understood
what it meant, wanted affirmative action to continue.



Ruth Ann Watry

Associate Professor

Political Science - Northern Michigan Univeristy

(906) 227-1824

rwatry at nmu.edu

_____

From: owner-LAWCOURTS-L at usc.edu [mailto:owner-LAWCOURTS-L at usc.edu] On
Behalf
Of MARK STEIN
Sent: Thursday, November 09, 2006 12:02 PM
To: Scott Gerber; Samuel Bagenstos 
Cc: conlawprof at lists.ucla.edu; lawcourts-l at usc.edu
Subject: Re: Michigan and popular constituionalism/political question




If affirmative action is as unpopular as has been suggested, why have
the
Republicans not made it a national issue?  Is it impossible to do so
without
alienating the white moderate (including white moderates who themselves 
vote
against affirmative action in ballot initiatives like Michigan's)?

Mark

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