Missouri Anti-Affirmative Action Initiative

April 4, 2008

Challenges to the title and description of a misleading ballot initiative that seeks to ban affirmative action in Missouri. The cases were rendered moot when backers of the initiative failed to garner enough signatures to make it to the ballot.

The petition sponsored by the so-called Missouri Civil Rights Initiative (MoCRI) was one of a series of anti-affirmative action measures being forwarded by Ward Connerly and the American Civil Rights Institute as part of a national movement to roll back equal opportunity.  

The MoCRI submitted its petition to the Secretary of State in July of 2007. Recognizing the deception inherent in a "civil rights" initiative that targets equal opportunity programs, the Secretary of State revised the ballot description of the petition to indicate that it would negatively impact affirmative action.

The MoCRI brought a challenge to this wording in July of 2007.  The ACLU National Racial Justice Program, ACLU National Women's Rights Project, and the ACLU of Eastern Missouri filed an amicus brief urging support for the Secretary of State's language and emphasizing that the term "affirmative action" must be included to provide voters with fair notice of the purpose and likely effects of the initiative.

The circuit court judge affirmed the importance of the use of the phrase "affirmative action," but nevertheless revised the Secretary of State's language. The decision was appealed and the ACLU submitted an amicus brief to the appeals court, but the case was rendered moot when the backers of the initiative - facing strong on-the-ground resistance - failed to garner enough signatures to qualify for the November 2008 ballot.

Read the ACLU of Eastern Missouri's press release about the withdrawal >>
Sour grapes: Connerly blames his loss on pro-affirmative action voter educators, calling them "thugs" and stalkers" >>
Read about coalition efforts to defend affirmative action in Missouri>>
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