Tuesday, July 15, 2003

The Continuing Battle Over Affirmative Action

You just can't take your eyes off these people for a moment.

Ward Connerly isn't going to let a little thing like a Supreme Court decision stop him. He's spoiling for a fight and he knows what he's doing.

In order to force a referendum on affirmative action, Connerly would need to collect 317,757 signatures, or 10 percent of the ballots cast in the 2002 governor's race. "The Washington Post" reports that the ACRC is also setting its sights on ballot initiatives in Colorado, Missouri; the Florida cities of Orlando, Tampa and Fort Lauderdale; and Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

The initiative strategy has worked before; in 1996, amidst widespread national media attention, Connerly successfully promoted Proposition 209, a California initiative banning race-based preferential treatment in state and local governments. In 1998, Washington state passed a similar measure.  

It gets worse. Because the Supreme Court found that the points system used by the University of Michigan was unconsitutional, anti-affirmative action groups have launched a witchhunt at universities demanding that they disclose their methods of selecting minority students. The crytically named Center for Equal Opportunity is at the center of this initiative. Ward Connerly and CEO president, Linda Chavez, are partners in crime.

The first thing you should do is sign the petition. Yes I know you've sent a dozen of these already, but one more can't hurt. As for the second thing--well all I can say is be as vigilant as it is possible to be with so many issues to keep track of. The Supreme Court did not strike down affirmative action because they--and the rest of the country--recognize that inequalities make it necessary. This is good news because it makes Ward Connerly's job that much harder. We need to step up that support and stand by the schools with progressive diversity programs.

If you want to read more on who Connerly is, this is a good place to start. Note how the usual suspects keep turning up.

Who's Who in the ACRI

While the Institute is usually presented as if it were founded and run by Connerly alone, he had some important help - all of it from rich, white, well-funded, conservative political activists. The other founders of the Institute are: 12

Thomas L. Rhodes - Co-Chairman, ACRI; Board Member, Bradley Foundation

Clint Bolick - Director of Litigation, Institute for Justice

Grover Norquist - President, Americans for Tax Reform

Quenton Kopp - State Senator, San Francisco.

Click on the links in the article for more info.

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