Wake up conservatives. The time to put a stop to preferential treatment has come. Justice O’Connor’s deciding vote in the Michigan case took affirmative action off the table as a major national issue. In the wake of that terrible decision, many conservatives just gave up. Well, stop giving up! Now that Justice Alito is safely ensconced on the court, it’s a whole new ball game. That said, overturning affirmative action will not be a simple matter of putting a case before the Supreme Court and letting Justice Alito do his thing. We can win this battle, but it’s going to take a serious political effort to pull it off.
For one thing, the Supreme Court can’t change anything until it gets a case. And getting an affirmative action case before SCOTUS will be no easy thing. Now that the Michigan decision is on the books, even conservative Supreme Court justices will be reluctant to overturn it outright. They’re more likely to pare it back by degrees. But first they have to get cases that allow them to do that. At the moment, unfortunately, even conservative judges are reluctant to stick their necks out on this issue. Lower court judges worry that, given Michigan, whatever limits they set to preferential treatment will be reversed by SCOTUS. Even preferential practices that are likely not protected by the Michigan decision would be hard to overturn in lower courts without a change in legal-political momentum on this issue. So there’s a chicken and egg problem here. The Supreme Court can’t change anything until it gets a case from the lower courts. But the lower courts are reluctant to act without a signal from the Supremes.
The solution to the chicken and egg problem is the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, which would amend the constitution of Michigan to prohibit preferential treatment. Ward Connerly has succeeded in getting this initiative on the ballot, and victory in Michigan would put huge political and judicial momentum behind the movement to abolish so-called affirmative action. A Michigan victory would jump-start a conservative judicial campaign on this issue, thereby allowing Justice Alito to do his thing.
But be warned! Defeat in Michigan would be a terrible set-back to any hopes of putting an end to preferential treatment. We must win that battle in Michigan, which is really a battle for us all. So if you want to stop preferential treatment, please consider a donation to the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative. You can donate here. And for updates on the battle, here’s the main page of the campaign.