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Abstract

With the passage of the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative (“MCRI”), Michigan joins California and Washington to constitute the new postaffirmative action frontier. For proponents such as Ward Connerly, affirmative action is on the edge of extinction. Connerly plans to carry his campaign against what he calls “racial preferences” to eight states in 2008, scoring a decisive Super-Tuesday repudiation of a social policy that he portrays as the contemporary face of racial discrimination. On the other side of the issue, proponents of affirmative action are struggling to regroup, fearful that the confluence of lukewarm support among Democratic allies, messy presidential politics and a menacing Supreme Court may spell the end of affirmative action as we know it. Of course predictions of the untimely departure of affirmative action have been wrong before. Indeed, the Supreme Court’s surprising decision in Grutter v. Bollinger caught runaway circuit judges and trigger happy pundits celebrating the demise of affirmative action a little too soon.