Thursday, November 8, 2007

Horizon interview with Max McPhail of the AZ Civil Rights Initiative

Tuesday night Max McPhail, Executive Director of the AZ Civil Rights Initiative, was interviewed on Horizon about the initiative's launch. Richard Ruelas interviewed him (and did a fair job because he's trying to become the next Horizon host). Matt explained that the initiative would not ban all affirmative action, because programs like the Superior Court's separate race-based Spanish language courts for DUI defendants receives federal funding, and the initiative exempts programs that receive federal funding.

One example of an egregious program the initiative would ban is the city of Tucson's 7% price preference for women and minority contractors. That preference currently allows women or minority contractors bidding on city projects to compete on the same level as white males even if their bid is up to 7% higher than bids from white males. Max noted that not only is this unfair to white males, but it hoses the taxpayers who are stuck paying for the difference. Another example of preferences that is so unfair it is actually a quota, which the Supreme Court has held are unconstitutional, is ASU's graduate program, which requires that 50% of research assistantships go to minorities. Max said that affirmative action is taking place at UA and ASU's law schools, although so far it appears that gender and race are amorphously taken into account as one of several factors in deciding who will be admitted, which makes them more difficult to correct. Max emphasized there is never a reason for discrimination; past discrimination does not justify discrimination now.

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