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PRODUCER TALKS 'STAR WARS' PAST AND FUTURE ... ARTS, PAGE 5
One-hundredffteen years ofedtorialfreedom
www.michzanday.com Ann Arbor, Michigan m Vol. CXVI, No. 22 x2005 The Michigan Daily
Appeals court OKs ballot measure
BAMN leaders say Granholm
will be asked to investigate
signatures collected by MCRI
By Julia F. Homing
Daily Staff Reporter
The Michigan Civil Rights Initiative
scored a major victory yesterday when the
Michigan Court of Appeals decided to allow
By Jameol Naqvi
Daily News Editor
The gay community's. struggle for equal rights
in Michigan was dealt a setback yesterday when
the state Court of Appeals granted state Attor-
ney General Mike Cox's motion for a stay on a
lower-court ruling supporting domestic-partner
The University will continue to offer health-
care benefits to the same-sex partners of its
employees, University spokeswoman Julie Peter-
The state, however, is not immune from yes-
terday's decision. Liz Boyd, spokeswoman for
Gov. Jennifer Granholm, said the governor's
office will delay submitting provisions of the
state-employee contract providing for domestic
partner benefits to the Civil Service Commission,
the body that must approve all provisions of the
contract before they take effect.
The Michigan American Civil Liberties
Union, which is representing 21 gay couples in
the case before the Appeals Court, stressed that
yesterday's stay is in effect only until the court
rules on Cox's appeal of the lower court ruling.
"The court still needs to decide the case on its
merits," said Kary Moss, executive director of the
Both Moss and Peterson emphasized that the
stay - which itself could be appealed - chang-
es little in the long term.
"It was really a nonruling," Moss said, adding
that the stay does not require Granholm to hold
off on submitting partner benefits to the CSC.
The ACLU has criticized Granholm for exercis-
ing caution in providing same-sex benefits, which
were negotiated in the state-employee contract but
withheld by the governor's office pending a court
decision favoring benefits. That ruling came late
last month when Ingham County Circuit Judge
Joyce Draganchuk interpreted a constitutional
amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage as
permitting domestic-partner benefits. Michigan
voters approved the amendment last November.
The governor's office and the ACLU were
encouraged by the Appeals Court's decision yes-
terday to expedite the appeals process - which
would have otherwise taken at least several
"We want to see this resolved as quickly as it
can be," Moss said.
Jay Kaplan, staff attorney for the Michigan
ACLU, said legal briefs in the case are now due
to the court by the end of next month.
See BENEFITS, Page 3
the organization's proposal - which would
ban affirmative action in public hiring and
college admissions in the state - to appear
on the ballot in November 2006.
BAMN - a pro-affirmative action group -
plans to appeal the Appeal Court's decision to
the Michigan Supreme Court, BAMN organizer
and Rackham student Ben Royal said. He added
that the organization is also asking Gov. Jennifer
Granholm to intervene and spearhead an investi-
gation of the signatures collected by MCRI.
Supporters of affirmative action filed an
appeal claiming signatures collected by MCRI to
qualify the proposal for the ballot were obtained
by misleading black voters into thinking they
were supporting affirmative action. The groups
that filed the appeal requested that the Board of
State Canvassers investigate the validity of the
But the Appeals Court ruled yesterday that the
canvassers have no authority to question the peti-
tions collected by MCRI.
If the proposal is passed, the University would
not be allowed to continue to factor race into its
admissions decisions, a policy upheld by the U.S.
Supreme Court in 2003.
Royal said even people who don't support
affirmative action should be discouraged by
"It makes sense to have a body that investi-
gates voter fraud because it ensures democracy,"
he said. "Not allowing investigations is just
But RC Prof. Carl Cohen, who teaches a
course in which he openly opposes affirmative
action, said MCRI collected 455,000 valid sig-
natures, far beyond the 317,000 necessary for the
proposal to be included on the ballot next fall.
"It's plain that this is an initiative which
should be before the people of Michigan for
their decision, and that's the way democracy
works," he said.
A poll conducted by the Detroit Free Press
and EPIC/MRA, found that 60 percent of Michi-
gan residents oppose affirmative action, indicat-
ing that the proposal is likely to pass.
Cohen said most Michiganders think of affir-
See MCRi, Page 7
DON'T FEAR THE REAPER
LSA senior Deepti Reddy poses as the "Dow Grim Reaper" as she passes out flyers to raise awareness of Dow Chemical's involvement In the Bhopal chemical disaster of
Dec. 3, 1984, for which the company continues to deny responsibility.
Bill would end life without parole for minors
By Christina Hildreth
Daily Staff Reporter
Michigan jails house the third-highest number
of inmates serving life sentences without parole
who were sentenced as minors, according to a
report released last month. The only states with
more lifers sentenced as juveniles are Pennsylva-
nia and Louisiana.
State Sen. Liz Brater (D-Ann Arbor)
announced last week that she is crafting legisla-
tion in an attempt to lower this number.
"We're not saying that people shouldn't be
held accountable for these terrible deeds, but
sometime in their life, they should have a second
look," she said.
The report, issued by Amnesty International
and Human Rights Watch, said more than 2,000
inmates are in U.S. jails for life because of crimes
they committed as juveniles. Michigan prisons
hold more than 300 of these inmates, some sen-
tenced at ages as young as 15. A separate report
released by the American Civil Liberties Union
last year noted that under current state law, life
without parole is a mandatory sentence for a
juvenile convicted of first degree murder in an
Brater's bill would nullify a 1997 law that
allows juveniles of any age to be tried as adults
for heinous crimes. If passed, the bill would
rescind a judge's ability to sentence youths to life
without parole, as well as permit the re-examina-
tion of certain prisoners to determine if they still
pose a threat to public safety.
But don't expect the bill to be introduced soon.
Brater said she knows she is tackling a contro-
versial issue and will have to work with "all the
stakeholders" to come up with a bill that could
garner bipartisan support.
See BRATER, Page 7
Bush nominates Auito
to the Supreme Court
Senate Democrats plan
to make abortion a key
issue in Supreme Court
WASHINGTON (AP) - President
Bush nominated Appeals Court Judge
Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court yes-
terday, hoping to usher in a historic new
era of judicial conservatism while end-
na Pi-anrhlian Ali;Aml +ha+ tAnmettAan
than Harriet Miers.
Bush, naming a replacement for Jus-
tice Sandra Day O'Connor four days
after Miers withdrew her name, said
Alito "has a deep understanding of the
proper role of judges in our society."
"He understands that judges are to
interpret the laws, not to impose their
preferences or priorities on the people,"
the president said. Within hours, Alito
collected support from many of the
critics who had opposed Miers.
A litn'c nnlitinll enmervative
By Drew Philp
For The Daily
The University has appointed Anita Norich as the head of the
newly-created Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies.
An arm of the University's Frankel Center for Judaic Studies, the
news institute is designed to bring together 14 visiting scholars of
Jewish culture to the University each year.
Norich is an English professor at the University and a scholar of
Yiddish literature. She has taught at the University since 1983 and
;,.: . F , . ...