law dot com’s, mike mckee on ag brown’s amicus curiae

Calif. AG Jerry Brown Takes Fire for Stance on Affirmative Action Ban

Mike McKee

California Attorney General Jerry Brown has come under attack for taking the unexpected step recently of questioning the constitutionality of Proposition 209, the 1996 ballot initiative that eliminated most affirmative action programs in California.

In a letter brief filed with the California Supreme Court late Thursday, thePacific Legal Foundation condemned Brown’s stance as “political expediency” and accused him of trying to revive programs that are “relics of a long-gone era of racial politics.”

“The attorney general’s current argument would turn the California Constitution on its head,” Sharon Browne, PLF’s principal attorney, said in the 18-page Supreme Court filing, “by prohibiting voters from ever amending their Constitution to prohibit governmental entities from adopting public contracting programs that treat individuals and groups differently, or encourage others to do so on the basis of race or sex.”

The filing was in response to an amicus curiae letter the AG filed with the Supreme Court on April 22, in which he argued that Prop 209 — nowsection 31, article I of the California Constitution — would violate the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection clause if interpreted broadly to bar all “race- or gender-conscious” programs.

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