Author: Joshua Thompson
With his final days in office now in front of him, Governor Schwarzenegger showed some long waited for leadership on Proposition 209 related issues in vetoing AB 2047. AB 2047 was the legislature's attempt to reinject race into the University of California and California State University systems. AB 2047 would have allowed California universities to consider race, gender, ethnicity, and national origin in undergraduate and graduate admissions. PLF Principal Attorney Sharon Browne sent Governor Schwarzenegger a letter urging that he veto AB 2047. She wrote that,
"AB 2047 violates the plain language of Article I, section 31, of the California Constitution. AB 2047 permits — and encourages — officials at the University of California and California State University to consider race and gender in admissions. Such purpose flies in the face of Section 31’s strict prohibition on race and gender classifications and is unconstitutional."
Governor Schwarzenegger heeded PLF's advice and vetoed the bill this morning, for precisely the same reasons urged by Ms. Browne. Governor Schwarzenegger wrote that,
"I am returning Assembly Bill 2047 without my signature. … [T]his bill attempts to change the constitutional ban on considering race, gender, ethnicity, or national origin as a factor in admissions that the people of California supported when they passed Proposition 209 in 1996."
While Governor Schwarzenegger has signed unconstitutional race-preference programs into law in the past, PLF applauds the Governor's foresight in vetoing this unconstitutional piece of legislation. California's next governor should follow his lead.