California’s Ban on Affirmative Action Upheld

A federal appeals court upheld California’s statewide ban on using affirmative action in admissions decisions at public universities yesterday.  Proposition 209, approved by California voters in 1996, bans public colleges and universities from considering gender, ethnicity, or race in the admissions process.  The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the ban once before.  The court wrote in its decision that it had already established precedent in this earlier case.

Ralph Kasarda, an attorney who argued in favor of Proposition 209, said in a statement, “The bottom line from both decisions by the 9th Circuit — today’s and the ruling 15 years ago — is that California voters have every right to prohibit government from color-coding people and playing favorites based on individuals’ sex or skin color.”  A plaintiff in the lawsuit, UC Berkeley student Maria Belman, argued that affirmative action is necessary, telling reporters from the Associated Press that “there’s racism in our society.  You need something to make up for that.”

This October, the US Supreme Court will hear a case, Fisher v. University of Texas, involving affirmative action at the University of Texas at Austin. The case, brought by Abigail Fisher, a Caucasian student claiming to have been denied admissions on account of her race, could “eliminate diversity as a rationale sufficient to justify any use of race in admission decisions,” according to the New York Times

Reuters 4/3/12; AP 4/3/12; Los Angeles Times 4/3/12; Feminist Daily Newswire 2/21/12

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