U.S. Appeals Court Hears Challenge To Prop. 209

Ann McClure's picture
Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Advocates for minority students, backed by Gov. Jerry Brown, implored a federal appeals court Monday to reconsider California's voter-approved ban on affirmative action based on race or gender preferences in education and state hiring.

Although the courts have upheld Proposition 209 as a race-neutral measure, it has caused the "resegregation of higher education," attorney Shanta Driver, chairwoman of an organization challenging the 1996 ballot initiative, told the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

Brown's lawyer also urged the court to take a new look at Prop. 209 and its impact on minority enrollment at the University of California. The measure "creates an unequal political structure" by outlawing preferences for minorities and women while allowing others, such as military veterans, to lobby for preferential admissions, said Deputy Attorney General Antonette Cordero.

The arguments appeared to make little headway. Another appeals court panel had upheld Prop. 209 in 1997, and Monday's three-judge panel signaled that it was bound to follow that ruling.

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