ACLU Seeks to Clarify Effect on UC After Prop. 209 Ruling


Two days after a federal judge blocked the state from enforcing Proposition 209, the ACLU and a coalition of civil rights groups moved Friday to make sure that the University of California maintains its affirmative action programs.

The temporary restraining order issued this week did not specifically mention UC, leaving the university in limbo at a time when admissions officers are getting ready to choose the fall 1997 freshman class.

On Friday, ACLU lawyers said they were hoping to help clarify UC’s situation by filing a motion to protect affirmative action at the university pending a final determination about the constitutionality of Proposition 209. The ballot measure, passed Nov. 5 by 54% of California voters, bars all state government-sponsored affirmative action programs based on race or gender.

“A federal court has found a ‘strong probability’ that Proposition 209 is unconstitutional,” Ed Chen, staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, said of the ruling Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Thelton E. Henderson. “We have filed today’s motion to preserve the status quo. . . . Existing affirmative action programs--including those at UC--should remain in place.”


ACLU lawyers said their motion had particular urgency because applications for undergraduate admissions must be postmarked by midnight Monday.