Proposition 209 and Affirmative Action

Proposition 16 supporters say – Proposition 209 banned affirmative action in California – but that isn’t true! Proposition 209 doesn’t ban affirmative action: affirmative action based on economic factors is perfectly legal. Bona fide qualifications based on sex and actions necessary for receipt of federal funds are allowed; it is not to violate legal precedents. Proposition 209 pursues narrow tailoring of such measures to remedy sufficiently documented discrimination on the basis of race or gender, without creating preferential treatment.

Proposition 16 (ACA 5) is about restoring government preferences based on race and sex, thereby legalizing discrimination. Proponents are falsely branding it as an “affirmative action” measure. But in reality it violates the original definition of affirmative action. When President Kennedy and President Johnson signed their executive orders to establish affirmative action policies, the exact words are: “Take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, color, religion, sex or national origin.”