November 1, 2011

Why are California government officials urging the Sixth Circuit to overturn Proposal 2?

By Joshua P. Thompson Senior Attorney

Since Proposal 2 was passed back in 2006, PLF has been defending its constitutionality in the courts.  Proposal 2, of course, is Michigan’s Proposition 209 analog, banning the use of race in government education, contracting, and employment. And PLF, as a national organization dedicated to protecting a colorblind constitution, it made sense to advocate for equality for Michiganders.

But what reason does the City and County of San Francisco have for entering into this fight in Michigan?  For that matter, what reason does the County of Alameda have for filing a brief in the Sixth Circuit?  The City of Oakland?  No matter what the Sixth Circuit decides en banc, the result will have absolutely no effect on the ability of San Francisco, Oakland, or Alameda to discriminate on the basis of race.  Both the Ninth Circuit and the California Supreme Court have ruled that Proposition 209 is constitutional.  Proposition 209 has been upheld every time it has come before the courts.  Indeed, the City and County of San Francisco should be acutely aware of this, since they were on the losing end of a California Supreme Court case PLF litigated last year.

California voters passed Proposition 209 with nearly 55% of the vote in 1996 (nearly 1 million more votes).  It’s sad that California government, which is supposed to be responsive to the people, would spend the people’s time, money, and resources to advocate for a position that is clearly not supported by the the people.  It’s even sadder that California government officials would spend the people’s time, money, and resources in Michigan, where the outcome will have absolutely no effect on the people that pay them.

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