Judicial Smackdown in Jefferson City
Missouri Political News Service has a story on the decision by Judge Callahan in Cole County to throw out the ballot language chosen by Secratary of State Carnahan on the Missouri Civil Rights Initiative which may or may not be accurately named, depending on your perspective. Whether or not you support this initiative, with its proposal basically to end affirmative action in Missouri, you would be hard-pressed to argue reasonably that Sec. Carnahan’s inclusion of highly biased language in the ballot wording was appropriate. What her office wrote for the ballot was (emphasis added):
"ban affirmative action programs designed to eliminate discrimination against, and improve opportunities for, women and minorities in public contacting, employment and education."
The new wording, as written by the judge, is much more even, yet still accurately descriptive as to the effects of the vote:
Ban state and local government affirmative action programs that give preferential treatment in public contracting, employment, or education based on race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin unless such programs are necessary to establish or maintain eligibility for federal funding or to comply with a court order?
You would have to by very, very partisan to argue that the latter is not a much more fair way of phrasing the question to be put before the voters.