All Out to the U.S. Supreme Court on October 15th!
The United States Supreme Court has granted review of the Sixth Circuit’s decision upholding the challenge by The Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality by Any Means Necessary (BAMN) to Michigan’s anti-affirmative action ballot proposal. Oral arguments will be heard on October 15, 2013 at 1pm.
Michigan Proposal 2, which bans the consideration of any form of affirmative action, including in admissions, was passed in a racially-polarized vote in November 2006. The day after the election, United for Equality and Affirmative Action Legal Defense Fund (UEAALDF) filed a lawsuit on behalf of BAMN, challenging the law’s constitutionality under the Fourteenth Amendment. Briefs, fact sheets and background material about the case can all be found here.
We now have the chance to strike down Michigan’s Proposal 2, California’s Proposition 209 and similar bans in Arizona, Washington, Nebraska and Oklahoma that have excluded tens of thousands of qualified black, Latino and other minority students from universities across the country.
The ban on affirmative action assures that admissions are by privilege, not merit. They allow every group, except racial minorities, to win admissions programs for their young people. They are creating a new form of separate and unequal in a nation that will soon be majority minority.
- The number of black graduates from Michigan’s public medical schools dropped from between 44-68 per year in 2004-2011 to only 27 in 2012.
- By 2012 the percentage of black graduates at the University of Michigan Law School was the lowest it had been since 1969, while doctoral and master’s degrees had declined to levels not seen in twenty years.
It is time for us to stop cringing and start fighting.
We can win our fight for equality if we use the coming weeks to build a national movement that can mobilize hundreds of thousands of people to the Supreme Court on the day our case is heard.
You Can Help Bring Thousands to DC on October 15th
You can support the movement to re-establish affirmative action – the desegregation program for higher education – in three ways:
1) MAKE A GENEROUS DONATION TODAY: We need funds for outreach, publicity, education and legal costs, and then we will need funds to make transportation available to tens of thousands of young people who wish to demonstrate their support for affirmative action on October 15th. Buses from the Mid-West to DC cost $4,000.00 each. Donations can be made through this website ny clicking here. All donations are TAX EXEMPT (UEAALDF tax exempt I.D. is 38-3626850)
2) SPREAD THE WORD: Forward this letter widely – if you are a member of an alumni association, professional organization, church, sorority or fraternity or any other organization, get them involved. Circulate this letter to all members of your organization and make personal appeals to ask others to make donations and get involved.
3) HELP SET UP SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS: Our attorneys and organizers are available to give informative and inspirational speeches before audiences of all kinds. IF YOU HAVE CONNECTIONS TO A UNIVERSITY CAMPUS OR A PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATION, ASK THEM TO ORGANIZE A FORUM ON THIS CASE IN EARLY FALL OF 2013. Once fall semester begins, we won’t have much time, so we need to begin organizing speaking engagements NOW.
You can play a key role in this historic case, which is our generation’s Brown v. Board of Education. THE STAKES ARE HIGH. If we win, anti-affirmative action laws all across the country will be overturned. If we lose, there will be more such laws.
Stand up and step forward. It’s time to make progress on civil rights.
Director, United for Equality and Affirmative Action Legal Defense Fund
P.S. Don’t Delay – donate today! Send a tax exempt donation by check to UEAALDF, P.O. Box 7205, Detroit, MI 48207 or donate online by clicking here.
UEAALDF was founded to uphold the gains and further the goals of the civil rights movement through litigation, education and research. We seek to support the expansion of affirmative action, integration and other measures to combat discrimination and promote equality in our society. We believe that civil rights litigation is most effective when coupled with direct action in the tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Our legal work is therefore always fully integrated with education and organizing. Court hearings provide an opportunity to educate the nation, set the terms of public debate on civil rights issues, and act as a focal point to draw new forces into civil rights organizing.
In the Courtroom
In Grutter v. Bollinger, where UEAALDF represented 41 student intervenor-defendants, UEAALDF presented the most aggressive, comprehensive and in-depth case for affirmative action ever presented in a U.S. courtroom. We moved the discussion on affirmative action from one about “racial preferences” to one about equality and integration – from the arguments in Bakke to those of Brown. Many of America’s pre-eminent experts in their fields testified pro bono for the Grutter intervenors, including Harvard Professor Gary Orfield, Columbia Professor Eric Foner, Duke Professor John Hope Franklin, Howard Professor Frank Wu, UC Berkeley Professor Eugene Garcia and UCLA Professor Walter Allen.
When the anti-affirmative action forces lost at the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003, they launched a campaign to pass referendums amending state constitutions to ban the use of affirmative action in Michigan, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arizona, Colorado and Nebraska. UEAALDF filed Voting Rights Act claims against the systematic use of fraud by the anti-affirmative action coalitions to obtain the petition signatures required to place the referendums on the ballot. Through this strategy, we were successful in keeping the initiatives off the ballot in Oklahoma, Missouri and Arizona.
In Michigan, where we were unable to keep the initiative off the ballot despite overwhelming evidence of voter fraud, UEAALDF filed a lawsuit challenging the new law’s constitutionality under the 14th Amendment. In July of 2011, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in our favor. The case is now pending en banc review and is likely to go to the U.S. Supreme Court.
In 2010, we filed a similar constitutional challenge to Prop 209, the ban on affirmative action in California.
In the intervening years, UEAALDF successfully defended the desegregation plans of both the Los Angeles and Berkeley Unified School Districts against legal challenges by Ward Connerly and other right-wing legal think tanks.
When the assault on public education first began, poor, predominantly minority districts faced attacks upon their right to maintain local control over their school systems. UEAALDF joined with others organizations to challenge the state take-over of Detroit Public Schools. A few years later, we filed a conflict-of-interest lawsuit when Robert Bobb was appointed Emergency Financial Manager of DPS, while receiving a significant portion of his salary from the private, pro-charter Broad Foundation. In 2007 and again in 2010, we filed lawsuits on behalf of students and parents to halt the massive number of school closures in Detroit, which have caused tremendous displacement of students, overcrowding and increased violence in the schools that remain, as well as an expansion of charters.
Educating the Nation
UEAALDF’s Director, Shanta Driver, is frequently invited to speak on the contemporary challenges to civil rights and specifically on the challenges to affirmative action and K-12 integration. She has addressed scores of civil rights, professional, religious, political and governmental organizations, including the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation; The National Alliance of Black School Educators; the U.S. Department of Transportation; the Missouri Department of Natural Resources; the A. Phillip Randolph Institute; Rainbow/PUSH Coalition; NAACP National Convention; Tavis Smiley Foundation Youth2Leaders Conference; National Bar Association; American Sociological Association; Americans for Democratic Action; the Progressive National Baptist Convention; the National Organization for Women; and the Society of American Law Teachers.
She has also been a guest speaker on affirmative action at hundreds of colleges and universities, including Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Howard, NYU Law School, Stanford, UC Berkley School of Law, UCLA, University of Pennsylvania, University of Southern California and Yale, to name a few.