The California Supreme Court has upheld a lower courts decision to ban the practice of affirmative action that gives preferential treatment to minorities and women in state contracts, hiring and public school admissions. The court in a 6-to-1 vote found that the ban did not violate federal protections already in place that offers equal treatment under the law.
The affirmative action ban known as Proposition 209 was voted into California state law 14 years ago in opposition to existing legislation in place since the 1960’s giving preferential treatment to minorities and women. The affirmative action ban has been challenged numerous times and this case was the result of a 2003 challenge to a San Francisco local ordinance. The San Francisco ordinance allows minority-owned firms and women-owned businesses preference to city contracts. Several white contractors sued the city asking that the local law be banned because of the state ban, the lower court agreed.
The State Supreme Court asked San Francisco to show “compelling evidence that minority and women owned businesses were purposefully discriminated against” before requiring the protection of affirmative action.