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Lawyer Says Latest Challenge to Calif. Affirmative Action Ban Is ‘Redundant and Baseless’

Posted Feb 14, 2012 10:37 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A lawyer defended California’s Proposition 209 banning affirmative action in public university admissions on Monday by pointing to a past ruling upholding the 1996 ballot measure.

Lawyer Ralph Kasarda says the new legal challenge is “redundant and baseless,” report the Associated Press and the San Jose Mercury News. He argued before the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that the court cannot ignore its own precedent—a 1997 decision upholding Proposition 209.

Minority students and an advocacy group filed the new suit in January 2010, arguing that the ban violates the civil rights of black, Latino and Native American students, who are underrepresented at California’s top universities. They say the ban needs to be reconsidered in light of recent court rulings, including a decision by the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that struck down Michigan’s affirmative action ban. That case will be reconsidered in March.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the plaintiffs’ arguments “appeared to make little headway” before the 9th Circuit judges, who indicated they were bound by the prior ruling. Kasarda’s argument “was virtually uninterrupted by questions,” the Chronicle says.

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