Scholars Join Fight to Save 209

  • Press_Release
  • June 17, 2010

PRINCETON, NJ (June 17, 2010)—The California Association of Scholars (CAS), an affiliate of the National Association of Scholars (NAS), has filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit against Proposition 209.

Approved in 1996 by a large margin, Prop. 209 prohibits state agencies in California from using racial, ethnic, or sex-based preferences. This law applies to all public CA colleges and universities, including the University of California system.

The law is now being challenged by an activist group that claims that it is discriminatory to prohibit discrimination. The group, the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration, and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary (known as BAMN), filed a lawsuit alleging that Prop. 209 violates the Equal Protection clause of the Constitution. The case is Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action v. Schwarzenegger.

Governor Schwarzenegger and the University of California have filed motions to dismiss the suit. Proposition 209 supporters, however, have expressed worry that UC and the state will fail to defend the law vigorously. If the motion to dismiss is not granted and the case moves ahead, the supporters of Prop. 209 want to be sure that their arguments are strongly represented.

The National Association of Scholars’ affiliate, the California Association of Scholars, played a key role in drafting the original Proposition 209. NAS President Peter Wood said, “Prop. 209 is a beacon for Americans. It says in simple, clear, and powerful language that racial preferences are wrong and have no legitimate place in public life. We will back our California affiliate all the way in defending this foundational law from BAMN’s mischievous lawsuit and, if need be, from half-hearted state officials.”

In addition to CAS, two other parties have asked to intervene in support of Prop. 209: Ward Connerly, former UC regent, CAS member, and president of the American Civil Rights Institute (ACRI); and the American Civil Rights Foundation (ACRF), the legal arm of ACRI.

John Ellis, president of the CAS, said, “Affirmative action in the form of race-based preferences does great damage to students, to academic programs, to race relations on campus, and in fact to the entire academic enterprise.”

Wood added, “BAMN is a radical organization that works tirelessly to foster racial antagonism. It has deployed questionable tactics against civil rights initiatives in every state where they have been proposed. BAMN’s earlier legal maneuvers in California aimed at overturning Prop. 209 went nowhere. The courts agreed that Prop. 209 is constitutional. But we can’t take victory for granted.”

The Prop. 209 supporters are represented by attorneys with Pacific Legal Foundation, a watchdog organization for limited government and individual rights that has been the leading litigator to defend and enforce Prop. 209 in courts throughout California. The motion to intervene, filed this week, is scheduled to be heard on July 23, 2010.


Ashley Thorne, Director of Communications, NAS: 609-683-7878; [email protected]

The National Association of Scholars advocates for higher education reform.

  • Share

Most Commented

October 11, 2021


The Shame of MIT: Canceling Dorian Abbot

Professor Abbot was set to deliver MIT's prestigious Carlson Lecture—that is, until he was canceled for his views on DEI programs, earning him a prompt disinvitation....

October 5, 2021


NAS Statement on Gender Ideology in Higher Education

The National Association of Scholars opposes the proliferation of gender ideology in American higher education....

September 9, 2021


Winning the Cold Civil War

The threat from the illiberal left grows. How should we fight it?...

Most Read

May 15, 2015


Where Did We Get the Idea That Only White People Can Be Racist?

A look at the double standard that has arisen regarding racism, illustrated recently by the reaction to a black professor's biased comments on Twitter....

October 15, 2021


Tracking Cancel Culture in Higher Education

UPDATED: A repository of 194 professors, administrators, and students who have been canceled for expressing views deemed unacceptable by higher education ideologues....

May 26, 2010


10 Reasons Not to Go to College

A sampling of arguments for the idea that college may not be for everyone....