Court Dismisses Challenge to Prop. 209

Ashley Thorne

Another attempt to overturn Proposition 209 has been put away. On Wednesday a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit to overturn Prop. 209 by the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration, and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary (known as BAMN). Prop. 209 is the law approved by California voters in 1996 to prohibit racial, ethnic, or sex-based preferences in state institutions, including public universities. The plaintiffs were attempting to re-establish the use of racial preferences in university admissions.  

BAMN intends to appeal the ruling, saying, “We cannot have an apartheid-like admissions system in California.” But for now, Proposition 209 and the principles of racial equality it represents are safe.  

The California Association of Scholars (CAS) had filed a motion to intervene in the case but was not recognized by the court as having standing, although the authors of Proposition 209 were CAS members. The court did recognize the American Civil Rights Institute (ACRI), which was then represented by the Pacific Legal Foundation.  

After the dismissal on Wednesday, Ward Connerly, president of ACRI, said, “This ruling is a powerful victory for fundamental rights. Everyone is owed a full measure of equal treatment, including applicants to the UC system, and all students. None of us should be classified by race or sex, by government. More than 14 years after Proposition 209’s enactment, it is time to move forward and fully implement that vital vision and goal.” 

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