Kamala Harris

California Attorney General Kamala Harris this month submitted a brief to the U.S. Supreme Court encouraging it to “allow public universities to consider race as one factor among many in admissions decisions.” (Damian Dovarganes/Associated Press)

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Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
November 16, 2015

  • 1996 measure outlawed affirmative action for college, government actions
  • Issue now before U.S. Supreme Court as it considers Texas case
  • State attorney general urges court to uphold affirmative action, despite her state’s stance

Proposition 209, passed by California voters in 1996, bars race, ethnicity or gender preferences in hiring, college admissions and other governmental actions.

The measure, which has survived multiple legal challenges, is a section of the state constitution.

Attorney General Kamala Harris took an oath to “support and defend … the constitution of the State of California against all enemies, foreign and domestic…”

Yet Harris this month proudly submitted a brief to the U.S. Supreme Court encouraging it to “allow public universities to consider race as one factor among many in admissions decisions.”

“To prepare our future leaders to thrive in the global workforce, we must embrace the benefits of diversity,” Harris said in a statement. “I strongly urge the U.S. Supreme Court to reaffirm its decision that public colleges and universities may consider race as one factor in admissions decisions.”

Her brief involves a case out of Texas, whose university seeks to use race in admissions. The court had ruled in a prior case that race could be used as one factor, and she wants it to reaffirm that attitude.

But what about Proposition 209, the expressed will of the voters that’s enshrined in the state constitution?

Harris’ brief mentions it in passing and makes clear that she doesn’t like it.

To read expanded column, click here.