California Proposition 209 Holds Strong, According to Supreme Court
The Supreme Court ruled recently in a trial involving California Proposition 209, which is very similar in intent to a Michigan law. Both laws ban affirmative action in processes such as university admissions, contracting and other public programs. The law has forbidden consideration of race and gender in university admissions since it was put in place in 1996. An article completed by the San Jose Mercury News detailed the ruling and the implications for California and Michigan.
The vote on the issue was six to two, in favor of Proposition 209. The reasoning behind each judge’s individual ruling was varied; constitutional merit of race in issues such as higher education drew a variety of opinions. However, the final decision favored the law. There has been much debate since the ruling; Propositoin 209 has a lot of critics in the state of California. Many claim that the law has dramatically reduced the admission rates for Latino, African American and Native American students at the University of California Berkeley and University of California Los Angeles. The same can be said for the high schools in the area; officials for schools located in urban settings in Berkely, Oakland and San Francisco claim the law dashes college hopes for students from all minorities. Mark Rosenbaum, an American Civil Liberties Union attorney, believes this case was about allowing students from minorities to play on the very same fields as all other students. In his opinion, the Supreme Court’s ruling indicates that minorities are not allowed that privilege.
The law does have its support. Many claim Proposition 209 and the similar law in Michigan allow for a race-neutral approach that allows all groups, minorities or otherwise, to avoid particular attention. To them, the law is an equalizer.