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Published: Friday, 12/29/2006

Appeals court rules 3 Mich. universities must comply with affirmative action changes

ASSOCIATED PRESS

LANSING, Mich. A federal appeals court ruled tonight that three Michigan universities should not have been granted a six-month extension to comply with certain provisions of a new state law banning some public affirmative action programs.

The order means that the University of Michigan, Wayne State University and Michigan State University will be expected to comply with the law for admissions and financial aid decisions related to next academic year s incoming classes, lawyers on both sides of the Proposal 2 debate said.

At least one group plans to challenge the appeals court ruling.

U.S. District Judge David Lawson ordered those universities may continue to use race and sex as factors in their admissions decisions for next year s incoming students. He granted an extension that would expire July 1.

The appeals court said federal law does not warrant providing an extension.

In the absence of any likelihood of prevailing in invalidating this state initiative on federal grounds, we have no choice but to permit its enforcement in accordance with the state-law framework that gave it birth, the three-judge panel of 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati wrote.

The universities asked for the extension because they already had begun the admissions cycles for those students before Proposal 2 passed. Lawyers for both Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Attorney General Mike Cox signed off on the extension.

But the extension was opposed by the Center for Individual Rights, which represents Eric Russell, an Auburn Hills man applying to the University of Michigan Law School.

The group wants immediate enforcement of Proposal 2.

The original lawsuit in the Proposal 2 case was filed by a pro-affirmative action group called By Any Means Necessary. The group seeks to block the implementation of Proposal 2.

Another suit before Lawson was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the NAACP. That suit argues the U.S. Supreme Court s interpretation of the U.S. Constitution permits some university affirmative action, despite the state ban.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com



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