A three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upholds an earlier ruling, rejecting the plaintiffs’ contention that the ban violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

 

By Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times
April 3, 2012

Civil rights groups and aspiring minority college students have lost the latest bid to get the University of California to resume considering race in its admissions decisions.

Proposition 209 banned the state’s public universities from using racial preferences to increase the ranks of black, Latino and Native American students, and the 1996 voter initiative has already withstood several constitutional challenges.

Two years ago, a class of prospective students and affirmative action advocates sued then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and UC President Mark Yudof, alleging that banning racial consideration in admissions resulted in the unfair exclusion of minority students and thus violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

The lawsuit was dismissed last year by U.S. District Judge Samuel Conti, citing previous rulings dating back to a year after Proposition 209’s passage that the admissions criteria meet constitutional standards.

On Monday, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Conti’s ruling and cited the same 1997 precedent that led the San Francisco judge to dismiss the lawsuit.

The plaintiffs, led by the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, argued that Proposition 209, which became Section 31 of the state Constitution, “has created a racial caste system in which the state’s most prestigious schools train mostly white students and students from some Asian backgrounds.”

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