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Judge upholds California's affirmative action ban

SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit challenging California's voter-approved ban on affirmative action in public university admissions.

U.S. District Judge Samuel Conti ruled against the challenge to Proposition 209, which barred racial, ethnic or gender preferences in public education, employment and contracting.

The plaintiffs argued that the law violated the civil rights of black, Latino and Native American students whose numbers have been reduced at the University of California's most prestigious campuses, particularly UCLA and UC Berkeley, since the ban passed in 1996.

According to the lawsuit, black, Latino and Native American students make up about one-quarter of the freshmen enrolled at UC's nine undergraduate campuses even though they comprise nearly half of all public high school graduates.

But the judge sided with Ward Connelly and other affirmative-action opponents who sought the lawsuit's dismissal. In his ruling, Conti said the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals already rejected a similar legal challenge to California's affirmative-action ban.


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