Ninth Circuit upholds California equal treatment referendum

Today, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reaffirmed an earlier CIR victory in the Ninth Circuit upholding the constitutionality of Proposition 209, which bans the State of California and its state universities from discriminating based on race.  The Court ruled that the earlier CIR-created precedent remained good law, and dismissed a challenge to it by the advocacy group known as “Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration, Immigrant Rights, and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary,” more popularly known as “BAMN.”


IR filed an amicus brief in the case, arguing that the plaintiffs lacked standing because, at the time, the California Supreme Court had already upheld Proposition 209.  A declaration by a federal district court would do the plaintiffs no good; California state courts would continue to be bound by the California Supreme Court unless and until the Supreme Court struck down the amendment.  The speculative outcome of a future Supreme Court ruling is not sufficient to confer standing at the outset of a case.  See Michael Rosman’s article in the William and Mary Bill of Rights Journal, “State Anti Preference Laws and the Role of the Federal Courts” for a discussion of this argument.

CIR successfully defended Prop. 209 against another constitutional challenge that was mounted shortly after its adoption. See Coalition for Economic Equity v. Wilson.  CIR also successfully defended Michigan’s Prop. 2, a 2006 ballot initiative that outlawed the use of racial preferences in Michigan.  See Schuette v. BAMN.

Case Status: Victory.

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