The California Supreme Court is upholding a proposition that bans affirmative action in government after deciding the measure doesn’t violate constitutional equal protection rights.
The court reportedly rejected arguments from San Francisco Attorney General Jerry Brown in a 6-1 ruling. The lawsuit was filed against the city by white contractors challenging an affirmative action program, which was suspended in 2003.
The 14-year-old law bans preferential treatment of women and minorities in public school admissions, government hiring and contracting, the Associated Press reported.
The court ruled that San Francisco must show that minorities and women have been discriminated against and an affirmative action law is the only way to fix the problem.
“As the court recognized, Proposition 209 is a civil rights measure that protects everyone, regardless of background,” Sharon Browne, a lawyer for the Pacific Legal Foundation, which represented the contractors, told reporters. “Under Proposition 209, no one can be victimized by unfair government policies that discriminate or grant preferences based on sex or skin color.”
Justice Carlos Moreno was the lone dissenter, writing in his opinion that it is unfair to single out women and minorities while other special groups continue to enjoy preferential treatment, AP reported.