NINTH CIRCUIT BARS NEW CHALLENGE TO EQUAL PROTECTION
April 2, 2012 - For Immediate Release
DENVER, CO. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in an opinion consistent with a friend of the court brief by Mountain States Legal Foundation (MSLF), today upheld a ruling by a California federal district court that a constitutional amendment adopted by the voters of California in 1996 barring use of racial quotas is constitutional. MSLF, with the Center for Equal Opportunity (CEO), argued, in a brief they filed in July 2011 with the Ninth Circuit, that Proposition 209 is compelled by the Constitution’s equal protection guarantee. MSLF and CEO, which both possess lengthy civil rights experience, urged the panel to dismiss the appeal by various proponents of government race-based decision-making. The filing by MSLF and CEO came days after a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit that the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, which was adopted by a vote of 58% to 42%, is unconstitutional because it unfairly affected racial minorities and on the same day that California Governor Jerry Brown filed a brief arguing that Proposition 209 is unconstitutional. The State of Arizona later joined the brief filed by MSLF and CEO.“We are pleased with this ruling,” said William Perry Pendley, MSLF president. “ A prior Ninth Circuit ruling compelled this holding.” In November 1996, California’s voters approved Proposition 209, the California Civil Rights Initiative, which amended the California Constitution by barring discrimination on the basis of “race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin.” The day after its enactment, several groups filed suit challenging it on equal protection grounds. A California federal district court enjoined its enforcement; however, a Ninth Circuit three-judge panel reversed the ruling, holding both that the plaintiffs had “no likelihood of success on the merits” and that Proposition 209 does not violate the Equal Protection Clause. Recently, Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration, and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equity By Any Means Necessary (BAMN) and fifty-six college and high school students challenged Proposition 209 as it applies to the University of California and its admissions policies. Ward Connerly and the American Civil Rights Foundation, the sponsors and chief supporters of Proposition 209, represented by Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF), intervened. A California federal district court ruled that it was bound by the earlier Ninth Circuit ruling that Proposition 209 is constitutional, which ruling BAMN appealed to the Ninth Circuit. In 1995, MSLF won the landmark Supreme Court ruling of Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Peña, in which the Court held that the use of racial preferences by any governmental entity is constitutionally suspect. Mountain States Legal Foundation, created in 1977, is a nonprofit, public-interest legal foundation dedicated to individual liberty, the right to own and use property, limited and ethical government, and the free enterprise system. Its offices are in suburban Denver, Colorado.
Mountain States Legal Foundation (MSLF) is a nonprofit,
public interest legal foundation dedicated to individual liberty, the right
to own and use property, limited and ethical government, and economic freedom. It is an Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3) entity
incorporated in the State of Colorado. Csontributions
to Mountain States Legal Foundation are tax deductible.
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