California law barring affirmative action takes effect
Jackson to lead protest march
August 28, 1997
Web posted at: 8:47 a.m. EDT (1247 GMT)
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CALIFORNIA (CNN) -- Nine months after California voters
approved it by 54%, a controversial law outlawing
state affirmative action programs took effect Thursday.
Proposition 209, as the law is known, bars preferential
treatment based on race or gender in public employment,
education and contracting in California.
Last week, a federal appeals court in San Francisco stood by
its earlier ruling that the state law is constitutional.
Opponents planned to ask the Supreme Court soon to stop
implementation of the law until it decided whether to
review the case. But they had not filed papers by late
Wednesday, meaning Proposition 209 would take effect, at
The Rev. Jesse Jackson was expected to lead an
anti-Proposition 209 protest march across the Golden Gate
Bridge over San Francisco Bay on Thursday. The march was to
start on the Marin County side of the bridge and conclude
with a rally on San Francisco's waterfront.
how enrollment breaks down for UCLA's latest group
of first-year law students, compared to figures for last year's class.
- White: + 30%
- Asian: + 70%
- Latino: - 17%
- African-American: - 50%
Changes at UCLA
Opponents point to the University of California as a sign of
what may be in store under the new law. Three University of
California law schools accepted far fewer minority students
this year after university regents scrapped racial
preferences in student admissions.
By contrast, last year's graduating class at UCLA's law school was the
most diverse in the school's history.
Monica Cazares, a second-year law student at UCLA, says the
affirmative action policy that allowed her and other minority
students to enter the school has affected their relationship
"A comment that was made that 'these students get in because
they check a box,'" she told CNN. "It took a very long time
for one of the students of color to actually have the
courage to raise their hand and educate everyone."
Despite the drop in African-American and Latino enrollment,
UCLA still has a more diverse student body than the rest of
the University of California system.
Michael Rappaport, dean of admissions at the UCLA Law School,
said that's partly because of a policy that still weighs-in
an applicant's socio-economic disadvantages.
Start of a trend?
Supporters and opponents alike see California as setting a
precedent and believe passage of Proposition 209 may
encourage other states to roll back affirmative action
programs that have been used in the United States since the
Proposition 209 supporters, like California Gov. Pete Wilson,
have praised the appeals court's recent rulings in the
case. "The efforts of a determined group of special interests
to perpetuate racially based decision-making in this state
are rapidly being exhausted," Wilson said this week.
San Francisco officials said the city would continue to
implement its existing affirmative action programs, which
deal mainly with minority contracting, despite Proposition
"I intend to continue vigorously to defend the city's
affirmative action program against any challenge in court,"
San Francisco City Attorney Louise Renne said.
In a related development, the University of Texas law
school, forced to abandon affirmative action, began classes
Wednesday with four blacks and 26 Mexican-Americans among 468
Last year, 31 blacks and 42 Mexican-Americans were enrolled.
School officials blamed the drop on a federal appeals court
ruling which said that UT could no longer use race as a
factor in admissions and scholarships. The Supreme Court
allowed that decision to stand last year.
Correspondent Jennifer Auther and Reuters contributed to this report.