“I just wish the plaintiffs would accept the will of the people and the decisions of the court,” said UC Regent Ward Connerly, architect of Proposition 209 who defended it in court.
The bill specifically bans universities and colleges from using affirmative action measures in the selection of their students, which would accept students based on basis of race to broaden and diversify the student body, rather than choosing only on merit.
Ralph Kasarda, the attorney defending the ban, explained his stance: “The bottom line from both decisions by the 9th Circuit – today’s and the ruling 15 years ago – is that California voters have every right to prohibit government from color-coding people and playing favorites based on individuals’ sex or skin color.”
Opponents to the ban note that the number of black, Latino, and Native American Students at Berkley fell 50 per cent after the ban, and though such minorities constitute half of highschool graduates, 30 of students at Berkley are white, and 48 per cent.
“All you have to do is walk into any classroom, and you can just see it,” said Maria Belman, history major at UC Berkeley and the plaintiff in this suit. “To say that it isn’t a problem is just a lie.”
Though the court upheld the legitimacy of the previous court’s decision to uphold the ban, opponents of the bill are taking it as far as it can go. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed in February to hear a case about affirmative action regarding the University of Texas.