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States brief ~ MI elections board deadlocked on affirmative action amendment

[JURIST] Leading Tuesday's states brief, the Michigan Board of State Canvassers deadlocked today on a proposed constitutional amendment [text] that would prohibit the use of race and gender preferences in university admissions and government hiring. The board could not decide whether to accept or reject signatures gathered by the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative [website]. Michigan Civil Rights Initiative leaders said they will ask state courts to certify the signatures, while two canvassers said they will ask for an investigation into alleged claims of fraud and misrepresentation by MCRI in gathering the signatures. AP has more.

In other state legal news ...

  • The Connecticut Supreme Court has granted court-appointed attorneys for minor children absolute immunity from being sued by parents. In the opinion [PDF text], Justice David M. Borden wrote, "The threat of litigation from a disgruntled parent, unhappy with the position advocated by the attorney for the minor child in a custody action, would be likely not only to interfere with the independent decision-making required by this position, but may very well deter individuals from accepting appointment in the first place." In the decision, the Supreme Court applied the US Supreme Court's three-prong test to determine when a court-appointed attorney qualifies for absolute immunity and expanded the ruling of the appeals court [PDF text] which granted court-appointed attorneys for minors only qualified immunity. Connecticut's Hartford Courant has local coverage.

  • Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly [official website] has rejected a proposed ballot initiative which aims to repeal the state's new embryonic stem-cell research law. Reilly found the law religious in nature and stated that the state constitution and caselaw say that any law relating distinctively to religion can not go before voters. The law [text], which was passed in May 2005 over the Governor's veto, promotes embryonic stem-cell research in the state, but allows medical staff with "sincerely held religious practices or beliefs" exemption from such research. The Boston Herald has local coverage.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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