California Attorney General Says Anti-Affirmative Action Measure Unconstitutional
California Attorney General Jerry Brown said in a letter to the California state Supreme Court that Proposition 209, an amendment to the California constitution passed in 1996 that prohibits affirmative action in public employment, education, and contracting, is unconstitutional. The so-called California Civil Rights Initiative effectively ended affirmative action policies in the state and gutted sex discrimination law.
In the letter (see PDF), Brown reasons that "to the extent that [the amendment] is interpreted more broadly to bar race- or gender-conscious programs that would be permissible under the Fourteenth Amendment, it violates the Equal Protection Clause of the federal Constitution" and therefore may be ruled unconstitutional. The letter also states that "ironically, by effectively disadvantaging racial minorities and women in the political process, without an evident compelling governmental reason for doing so, [the amendment] seems to accomplish the very evil it purported to eliminate…racial and gender discrimination."
According to the Los Angeles Times, Brown’s letter was at the request of the California state Supreme Court, which is currently considering a challenge to a law that gives an advantage to women and minority-owned businesses in bidding for contracts in San Francisco.
Ward Connerly, a California businessman, used the passage of Proposition 209 to build his nationwide campaign against affirmative action – Connerly’s efforts have led to affirmative action bans not only in California, but also in Michigan, Washington, and Nebraska. A similar affirmative action ban supported by Connerly was defeated in Colorado in 2008.
In the 2008 elections, Connerly’s campaigns also failed to gather enough signatures to qualify anti-affirmative action measures for the ballot in Missouri, Oklahoma, and Arizona. The Feminist Majority Foundation played a leading role in the effort to defeat Proposition 209 in 1996 and has continued to work against anti-affirmative action ballot measures.
Media Resources: Feminist Daily Newswire 12/2/1996, 8/22/1997, 8/25/08, 11/10/08; Edmund Brown Letter 4/22/09; Los Angeles Times 4/24/09
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .