California Legislature Repeals Proposition 209; Places Race-based Affirmative Action on Ballot

Proposition 209 (Nick Ut / Associated Press)
Nick Ut / Associated Press

The California State Senate passed a constitutional amendment on Wednesday to repeal Proposition 209, a ballot initiative passed in 1996 to prevent the state from discriminating on the basis of race for any purpose.

Effectively, Prop 209 prevents race-based affirmative action in state contracts, government jobs, and university admissions. It was supported by African American civil rights leader Ward Connerly, and is very popular among Asian Americans, who suffer the primary burden of affirmative action at universities.

The repeal measure will now be on the November ballot.

Prop 209 added the following provision to California’s state constitution: “The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.”`

ACA 5 would repeal Prop 209, and includes a long set of preambles with ideologically-charged statements, such as:

WHEREAS, As a result of the passage of Proposition 209, women and people of color continue to face discrimination and disparity in opportunities to participate in numerous forms of association and work that are crucial to the development of talents and capabilities that enable people to contribute meaningfully to, and benefit from, the collective possibilities of national life; and

WHEREAS, Women, particularly women of color, continue to face unequal pay for equal work. White women are paid 80 cents to every dollar paid to white men doing the same work. Black women are paid 60 cents for every dollar paid to white men doing the same work and would theoretically have to work an extra seven months every year to overcome that differential. This persistent gender wage gap continues to harm women, their families, and communities; …

The pay disparities cited in ACA 5 are widely disputed, as are many of its other claims. Nonetheless, it passed 30 to 10, more than the two-thirds required.

Connerly told the Wall Street Journal recently that he is prepared to fight for Prop 209 again:

Though a similar vote to restore affirmative action in nearby Washington state failed last year, the victory was narrow, California is much bluer than Washington—and much bluer than it was in 1996, when Proposition 209 passed with a 55% majority. Even so, Mr. Connerly says the opposition may be overconfident: “I believe we would win by a landslide once we let people know what affirmative action is really about.”

Connerly added that he believed Democrats were using the chaos of the coronavirus pandemic to pass ACA 5, which otherwise would have encountered more debate and opposition.

Asian Americans are 15% of California’s population; African Americans are 7%; Latinos are 39%; and whites are 37%.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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