||Ralph W. Kasarda
Pacific Legal Foundation
Victory for Prop. 209 at the Ninth Circuit
Sacramento, CA; April 2, 2012: In a ruling announced this morning, a three-judge panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a challenge to the constitutionality of Proposition 209 (Article 1, Section 31 of the California Constitution), the voter-enacted provision that prohibits discrimination and preferences by race or sex in public education, contracting, and employment. The ruling came in the case of Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action v. Brown.
The ruling is a victory for Pacific Legal Foundation attorneys and the clients they represent — the American Civil Rights Foundation and former University of California Regent Ward Connerly. ACRF and Connerly joined the case as intervenors to ensure that Proposition 209 would be forcefully defended. Indeed, the ruling is a defeat for Governor Jerry Brown, who — although technically a defendant in the case — sided with the challengers to Proposition 209.
PLF attorney Ralph W. Kasarda, who argued the case in defense of Proposition 209 at the Ninth Circuit on February 13, issued this statement:
“Today’s ruling is good news for everyone who values fairness and equal opportunity, because Proposition 209 guarantees fair treatment for everyone, regardless of skin color, sex, or ethnic ancestry,” said Kasarda. “But as welcome as today’s ruling is, it’s hardly a surprise. The Ninth Circuit already upheld Proposition 209’s constitutionality in a decision 15 years ago. Therefore, the challenge that was before the court in this case was baseless — a redundant attempt to revive old, discredited arguments.
“The bottom line from both decisions by the Ninth 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. This case focused on university admissions. At the University of California, no student should be granted or denied admission because of his or her race. That’s what fairness says, and that’s what Proposition 209 says.
“If the people who brought this lawsuit are genuinely opposed to discrimination in university admissions, as they claim, then they should be supporting Proposition 209 and its crystal-clear ban on discriminatory policies, not trying to tear them down.”
Ward Connerly issued this statement today:
“This decision is a resounding reaffirmation of several prior court decisions which concluded that equal treatment is solid law, and is consistent with America’s color-blind ideals. One would hope that the plaintiffs in this case would cease the filing of their frivolous lawsuits and join with us in pursuing race-neutral approaches that benefit Americans of all backgrounds and not just a few based on skin color and ethnic background.”
About Pacific Legal Foundation
Donor-supported Pacific Legal Foundation (www.pacificlegal.org) is a legal watchdog organization that litigates for limited government, property rights, individual rights, and equal protection under law. PLF has been the leading defender and enforcer of Proposition 209 and its guarantees of equal opportunities and equal rights, in courts throughout California.
The American Civil Rights Foundation
ACRF is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) public interest corporation, dedicated to eradicating practices of racial discrimination and preferences by government entities nationwide, and to enforcing Proposition 209’s prohibition of race- and sex-based discrimination and preferences in the operation of public education, employment, and contracting.