Michigan Democrats Stoop To (Un)Civil Disobedience

Chetly Zarko reports that the two Democrats on the Michigan Board of Canvassers, egged on by their cohorts in BAMN, engaged in disruptive, borderline violent civil disobedience today by refusing to comply with a Michigan Court of Appeals order to place MCRI on the November 2006 ballot.

Read Chetly’s chillling report, and this similar report from the Associated Press. The Michigan Dems remind me of Bull Connor and Sheriff Jim Clark, not only because of their disgusting tactics but because those tactics are employed to preserve racial preferences and to block a measure that would require the state to follow a policy of neutral, color-blind non-discrimination.

UPDATE [15 Dec.]

Jennifer Gratz sends excerpts from a Michigan Information and Research Service (MIRS) report on BAMN’s storm-trooper tactics at the Board of Canvassers meeting. (Requires subscription).

Excerpts from the excerpts:

The Board of State Canvassers today declined to put a proposal to ban racial considerations in college admissions and government hiring on the 2006 ballot despite a Court of Appeals order to do so.

Influenced heavily by a raucous crowd of protestors and, at times, 250 Detroit-area high school students, Canvasser Paul MITCHELL switched his vote to “no” within minutes of explaining to the unsympathetic crowd why he had to do what the court was ordering him to do. Having run out of stall tactics, fellow Democratic Canvasser Doyle O’CONNOR didn’t cast a vote, telling officials he couldn’t hear the motion to put the measure on the ballot over the booming “No Voter Fraud” chant.


The resulting scene was that stuff motion pictures are made of….

The meeting was recessed at 12:30 p.m. after the high school students, spurred by BAMN organizer Luke MASSEY worked themselves into near-riot status by chanting, “No Voter Fraud” and “You Say Jim CROWE, We Say Hell No,” standing on chairs and waving their middle fingers. The more the Canvassers tried to quiet the crowd so they could put MCRI on the ballot, the louder the crowd got and the closer the mob moved to the front table.

The testimony table was knocked down. Chairs were kicked over. The floors on the second floor shook. The four canvassers were ushered into a separate room while Lansing police kept the crowd contained.


Mitchell attempted to speak publicly for the first time that day. He talked about the role of the Canvassers and their need to follow the law. He responded to suggestions made earlier in the day by BAMN members that Canvassers opt not to vote, openly violate the Court of Appeals ruling or resign out of protest.

“If I walk out of this room, if I resign, what have I done?” said the Board’s only African-American member.

“Be a black man about it, please,” shouted one person.

“I want to go to college,” yelled another.

“Rosa PARKS broke the law, too,” came yet another heckler.

Yes, but Rosa Parks broke the law to uphold the principle that all people should be treated equally, without regard to race. The BAMN thugs and their misguided, misled high school legions —

Lansing Police brought a 17-year-old Detroit woman to the station for disorderly conduct. Lt. Lisa PHILLIPS said the woman was cussing and swearing loudly outside the Lansing Center, in earshot of the general public. At the station, the young woman allegedly didn’t have a firm grasp on the issues that spurred the Canvassers’ meeting.

— hold that principle, as well as civility itself, in contempt.

The next time you hear someone say that “the people” favor racial preferences (if you ever do; most know that they don’t, which is why preferences have to be imposed by unaccountable officials such as judges and elite university administrators), keep in mind how contemptuous the BAMN thugs and their Democratic allies are of the right of those people to decide for themselves whether they want to prevent their state from discriminating on the basis of race.

UPDATE II [15 Dec.]

Here is Jennifer Gratz’s own account of the proceedings, via email:

I’m just now arriving home after another heated Board of Canvassers meeting. This one lasted from 10:00 am – 3:30 pm and had the same basic result as the 7-hour-BofC meeting last July; that is the board deadlocked and therefore took no action. The difference this time is that the Court of Appeals has ordered the board (through 2 different opinions, see links below) to certify the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative (MCRI) for the 2006 ballot. Because the board outright-defied the court order, tomorrow we will be asking the Court of Appeals to hold board members in contempt of court.

About 10 minutes before the meeting began, 3 busloads of Detroit high school students were marched in by our opposition group, “The Coalition to defend affirmative action … by any means necessary (BAMN)”. These students were taken out of class, they were missing exams, and they had no idea why they were in Lansing — except to scream, yell, and stomp their feet, when prompted to do so.

The board meeting started with board member Doyle O’Connor (D) standing on his soapbox talking about how he disagreed with the Court of Appeals decision and about why he disagreed with the MCRI. The board then allowed two and a half hours of testimony (in which MCRI took up, at most, 10 minutes). None of the testimony had anything to do with the court decision; all of it was how strongly our opponents disagreed with the MCRI. We were often called racists and liars. Our opposition called on board members to either vote “no” or resign. They told board members that “a few days in jail for standing up for what the believe would not be that bad.” They shouted that Martin Luther King, Jr would have gone to jail to keep the MCRI off the ballot.

At about noon, after the board’s attorney told the board that the only legal option they had was to certify MCRI for the ballot, Lyn Bankes (R) began to read a motion to certification. At that moment, Luke Massie and Shanta Driver (the leadership of our opposition) started chanting and the rest of the crowd joined in. They were standing on chairs, knocking tables over, pushing their way to the front of the room so that they were yelling in the faces of board members and surrounding supporters of MCRI (see link below for video). MCRI

Say What? (11)

  1. Chetly Zarko December 15, 2005 at 4:10 am | | Reply

    John, you want chilling, link to the original video of the table flipping that I caught on my (soundless) digital camera that has 30 second AVI capability.

    You’ll note the crowd surge, and the extreme physical danger that the court reporter, trying to retriever her microphones, is place in as the crowd moves in and flips over the first table.

    I’ll be creating a masterpage shortly with a bunch of stuff on it.

    So much for the “BAMN is non-violent” hogwash.

  2. K December 15, 2005 at 2:00 pm | | Reply

    I would support the initiative if I lived there. Having said that……

    I don’t believe a judge should have any power to tell an elected offical how to vote on an issue.

    But I do believe the judge has the power to order specific performance – i.e. it goes on the ballot whether you like it or not!

    A subtle distinction perhaps, but the judge should have suspended the board’s authority and ordered the clerk to put it on the ballot. There should be no pretense that the board voted for what they oppose.

  3. John Rosenberg December 15, 2005 at 2:07 pm | | Reply

    I don’t believe a judge should have any power to tell an elected offical how to vote on an issue.

    The members of the Michigan Board of Canvassers are appointed by the Governor, not elected. That explains (since the Governor is a Democrat) why one of the two Republican members actually opposes MCRI, though she did vote yesterday to follow the court order and place it on the ballot.

  4. K December 15, 2005 at 2:40 pm | | Reply

    John corrected me about elected officals. Not being a resident, I didn’t know.

    Otherwise I maintain that the judge should issue an order rather than require people to mouth endorsement of something they oppose.

    Anyway. Thanks John.

  5. John Rosenberg December 15, 2005 at 4:04 pm | | Reply

    There is a good chance that the Michigan Court of Appeals will do as you say, and simply issue and order placing MCRI on the ballot. Still, the point is not the free speech rights of the appointed members of the state Board of Canvassers. The Attorney General issued a ruling declaring that the board had a duty to approve a ballot initiative once it had determined that a sufficient number of valid signatures had been submitted. Whether the individual members of the board “oppose” the initiative is irrelevant, or if they can’t do their job they should resign.

  6. Chetly Zarko December 15, 2005 at 8:00 pm | | Reply

    Even BAMN admitted at the meeting that the consequence to Board meetings of refusing to do their jobs was that they should resign or even be prepared to sit in jail, “like Rosa Parks” (there’s a great irony in the Rosa usage, which I’ll go into later).

    I’m recovered from my day yesterday, and will write up a more detailed account, with remarkable photos and moving video (no sound) of the table flipping and violence.


  7. Rhymes With Right December 15, 2005 at 8:59 pm | | Reply

    Pro-Discrimination Mob Defies Court To Keep The People From Being Heard

    Terrorists supporting racial discrimination by government agencies disrupted a meeting intended to bring a government agency into compliance with a court order and Michigan law. Following a raucous, table-tumbling protest involving a couple of hundred …

  8. Steven Jens December 15, 2005 at 9:18 pm | | Reply

    As John said, this isn’t a legislative body, empowered to determine what they think the law should be, it’s more of an executive agency, chartered to determine whether the citizen initiative process has been followed. That said, it does seem odd that the court would tell the commission “you’ve overstepped your bounds” and not issue an order for the civil servants to get about putting the question on the ballot. But I’m not a lawyer, either.

    Good luck to Mr. Zarko and anyone else from MCRI who checks in here.

  9. Steven Jens December 15, 2005 at 9:22 pm | | Reply

    Actually, to add something: BAMN is opposed to racial nondescrimination, democracy, and now rule of law. How can they even attempt to portray themselves as the good guys? Do they have better hair than the MCRI team?

  10. John Rosenberg December 15, 2005 at 10:47 pm | | Reply

    Steven – The Michigan Court of Appeals DID issue an order instructing the Board of Canvassers to place MCRI on the ballot — twice. I suspect that now the Court will simply issue the ballot order directly to the secretary of state, although it may also hoard board members in contempt. I certainly do.

  11. Jabba the Tutt December 20, 2005 at 9:18 am | | Reply

    If this were Republicans obstructing a Democrat ballot initiative, we’d never hear the end of it. But Democrats acting like Storm Troopers isn’t even news anymore.

Say What?