Affirmative Action Petition in Question

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The controversy continues over whether affirmative action practices have a place here in Michigan. Those in favor of affirmative action are protesting a petition to ban certain aspects of it.

The petition was started by anti-affirmative action activist Ward Connerly and a group called the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative. Connerly hopes to get enough signatures on the petition to put a proposal banning affirmative action on the November ballot. Now, the petition is in court.

Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Paula Manderfield heard from both sides of the issue Monday morning. Supporters of affirmative action say some of the wording on the petition is deceptive. Luke Massie, National Co-Chair of the group B.A.M.N., says his group is calling on the court system to do something about it. The wording in question is the phrase "to discriminate or grant preferences." Those against the petition say the intent behind the phrase and the paper, as a whole, is not clearly defined.

Tim O'Brien, Campaign Manager for the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, called the action taken in court an act of desperation on the part of the people opposed to the proposal his group hopes to bring to the voters.

A decision was not made on the matter. Circuit Court officials say they don't know when a ruling is expected.