State affirmative action ban upheld by federal court
California’s ban on using race or gender as a factor in college admissions survived another legal challenge Monday when a federal appeals court upheld the law passed by state voters more than 15 years ago.
Plaintiffs argued that the ban, approved by California voters as Proposition 209 in 1996, “causes the unfair exclusion of African American, Latino and Native American students from higher education,” according to court filings.
Monday’s decision rejected those claims, upholding a lower court ruling that found the state’s ban on using race, ethnicity or gender as a factor in admissions to be legal.
Ward Connerly, sponsor of Proposition 209, welcomed the decision in an interview Monday.
“I’m pleased, but not surprised,” Connerly said Monday. “The country is clearly going to have to move in the direction of treating everybody fairly.”
Connerly has also helped pass similar bans in Washington state, Michigan, Arizona and Nebraska. This fall, voters in Oklahoma will also weigh in on whether to ban affirmative action.
But it may be a moot point by then. In October, the U.S. Supreme Court is set to rule on whether race-based affirmative action programs are legal.
--Anthony York in Sacramento
Photo: Proposition 209 proponent Ward Connerly. / Credit: Associated Press