Michigan constitutional amendment struck down because it tries to guarantee equality too much
This is where we are in this country, and you can thank the courts. Apparently the people of the State of Michigan can’t amend their own constitution to say it or its schools may not discriminate on the basis of race or gender in the their hiring or admissions process. I haven’t read the Sixth Circuit’s opinion yet, because my computer won’t open it, but there are plenty of reports out there about what it says. Here’s the gist:
In a divided opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit struck down Michigan’s Proposal 2, aka the “Michigan Civil Rights Initiative.” Proposal 2 was a successful ballot initiative that provides that the state, including state educational institutions, may not ‘discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education or public contracting.’ Judge Cole, joined by Judge Daughtrey, held that the proposal is unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause. Specifically, the initiative is invalid under Washington v. Seattle Sch. Dist. No. 1, 458 U.S. 457 (1982) and Hunter v. Erickson, 393 U.S. 385 (1969) because it ‘unconstitutionally alters Michigan’s political structure by impermissibly burdening racial minorities.’ Judge Gibbons dissented.
‘Proposal 2 reorders the political process in Michigan to place special burdens on minority interests,’ judges R. Guy Cole Jr. and Martha Craig Daughtrey said.
So let me get this straight: a law that requires the government to treat people equally in their hiring/admissions somehow violates the part of the Constitution that say people must be treated equally? Seriously, what the hell? It places “special burdens on minority interests?” Like what exactly? Not forcing Western Michigan University admit someone because of the color of his skin? I thought that’s what we were shooting for.
This case presents yet another example of an important reality: there are three branches of government, and despite what anyone tries to tell you, all three legislate. It is simply absurd for a judge to say Michigan’s constitutional amendment violates a part of the constitution that forbids discrimination. The court’s decision basically gives the following order: “No discrimination? No. Instead, you had better be making an active effort to discriminate the crap out of your applicants. In fact, if you have an application from a 12 year old, illiterate, blind, cross-dressing, lesbian, Eskimo, you had damn well better admit her to medical school!”
This case will almost certainly make its way to the Supreme Court. How will the Court rule? No one can guess these things anymore. The Court is being directed by centuries of inconsistent precedent that is largely suspect. Courts have taken a rather straightforward document, the Constitution, and made it so convoluted you would think it was 400 pages long and written in some long-lost language. Is it really that hard to figure out what “interstate commerce” means? Both words are in the dictionary. How, exactly, did abortion make its way into the Bill of Rights? These are just a couple examples.
I am a big believer in the idea that the federal courts simply make crap up to make their very simple job-determining whether a law complies with the Constitution-to become very difficult. Why? Because it makes their existence more significant.
Back to Michigan. You, me, and the uneducated hobo on the corner all recognize how absolutely stupid the Sixth Circuit’s decision is, right? As much as we all complain about the politicians, we’ve given this country away to a bunch of unelected law professors. I dislike lawyers. I dislike judges even more.
And what did George Heartwell, Mayor of Grand Rapids, have to say about the order?
‘Wow! Wow! Wow!’ Heartwell said. ‘It confirms the belief that many of us have that for us to advance as a state, we need to be able to advance all people.’
Wow! Wow! Wow! Indeed. And by “advance all people,” he specifically means 12 year old, illiterate, blind, cross-dressing, lesbian, Eskimos. Attention Michiganders: Its politicians like Mr. Heartwell that have caused your wonderful state to be one of America’s economic red-headed step-children for decades. I suggest you do something about it.