William Perry Pendley

Meanwhile, spurred by the Supreme Court’s Adarand ruling, Congress, for the first time, debated the constitutionality of awarding contracts based on race. Not surprisingly, it demurred, leaving the matter to the courts. In 2001, Adarand returned to the Supreme Court, where it, at the Bush Administration’s urging, declined to rule. Thus, it left standing a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit ruling that turned the Court’s 1995 ruling on its head by authorizing use of racial quotas. Then, in 2003, the Court ruled the University of Michigan Law School could grant admission on the basis of race for another 25 years. Later that year, the Court, over the vigorous dissent of two justices, refused to hear an appeal by Marc Lenart of Lafayette, Colorado, who sought to overturn the Tenth Circuit’s perversion of the Supreme Court’s Adarand ruling.

The “national dialogue on race” as to government, race-based decision making was over at the Supreme Court; however, it was not finished in Michigan. Jennifer Gratz, lead plaintiff in a successful challenge to Michigan’s undergraduate admission program, returned to fight for the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative (MCRI) and thus end the Michigan law school’s race-based policy. In 2006, by a vote of 58 percent to 42 percent, the MCRI passed; Gratz had snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.

In Colorado, Randy Pech, Valery Pech Orr, co-proponent of the Colorado initiative, and Marc Lenart hope for a similar victory. If they get it, it will be without Senator Obama’s help; he opposed the MCRI.


William Perry Pendley

William Perry Pendley is President and Chief Legal Officer at the Mountain States Legal Foundation.

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