Last week, the California legislature voted to opt for radical affirmative action by repealing its constitutional prohibition on “discriminating against or granting preferential treatment to persons on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in public employment, public education, and public contracting.”
The measure would repeal Section 31 of Article I of the California Constitution, removing the following text:
The State shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.
This section shall apply only to action taken after the section’s effective date.
Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as prohibiting bona fide qualifications based on sex which are reasonably necessary to the normal operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.
Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as invalidating any court order or consent decree which is in force as of the effective date of this section.
Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as prohibiting action which must be taken to establish or maintain eligibility for any federal program, where ineligibility would result in a loss of federal funds to the State.
For the purposes of this section, “State” shall include, but not necessarily be limited to, the State itself, any city, county, city and county, public university system, including the University of California, community college district, school district, special district, or any other political subdivision or governmental instrumentality of or within the State.
The remedies available for violations of this section shall be the same, regardless of the injured party’s race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin, as are otherwise available for violations of then-existing California antidiscrimination law.
This section shall be self-executing. If any part or parts of this section are found to be in conflict with federal law or the United States Constitution, the section shall be implemented to the maximum extent that federal law and the United States Constitution permit. Any provision held invalid shall be severable from the remaining portions of this section.
Steve Miller, of Californians For Equal Rights, denounced the bill in a handful of informative tweets:
The California legislature has now voted to strike these words from our state
“The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin.”
I’m speechless. pic.twitter.com/X09mWlM9sX
— Steve Miller (@SteveMillerOC) June 24, 2020
Yes, this is real.
— Steve Miller (@SteveMillerOC) June 26, 2020
According to Ballotpedia, proponents of the bill include some of the state’s most radical leftists, such as a slew of legislators including Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, and the state Board of Regents, which is headed by former Obama cabinet member Janet Napolitano.
The bill’s supporters argue that it’s about removing the ban on affirmative action, first passed in 1996, while its opponents call it a “racial spoils system” that will bestow preferential treatment based on race.
An op-ed from the Orange County Register declared that the bill “threatens a civil rights setback” for the state and indicated that Asian American Californians will be crucial in defeating it.
“ACA 5 is ill-conceived and will inflict great harm upon many Californians,” warns Ward Connerly, a former regent of the University of California and the founder of the American Civil Rights Institute, in the op-ed. “Of equal importance is the inherent link between equality and freedom. Without equality, we leave our pursuit of opportunity in the hands of an ever-growing government to make decisions about our lives on the basis of our identities.”
Connerly, who wrote the California Civil Rights Initiative in 1996 that first prohibited discrimination and affirmative action, mobilized a diverse coalition of Californians who see such policies as a setback for racial equality. That message, the Register says, “is likely to resonate once again in today’s demonstrations.”
The Register concludes:
If the Legislature sends the measure to the ballot, it is likely to face strident opposition from Asian Americans. The organized and fierce opposition of the 15 percent of the electorate, of AP voters in California could shift several congressional and legislative political races into the Republican column. “Asian-Americans will take the lead in opposing ACA-5,” observes John Fund, National Review’s national-affairs reporter. “Among Asian Americans, the opposition is 2 to 1 against.”
The bill will move to the ballot in November for a popular vote.
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