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Judge Rejects Group’s Call|for Affirmative Action

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - A federal judge dismissed a minority rights group's class action to keep affirmative action in California's state university system and ensure white and Asian students do not get preferrential admission.

The Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality by Any Means Necessary (BAMN) sued the state in February 2010, claiming the ban implemented by Proposition 209 violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

Section 31 of Proposition 209 prohibits schools in the University of California system from considering race as a factor for admission.

The February class action was brought on behalf of a group of minority students with less-than-perfect grades who were applying to prestigious schools like UC Berkeley, and were concerned their grade point averages would not be high enough to merit acceptance.

U.S. District Judge Samuel Conti ruled that BAMN failed to "destroy the fundamental logic" of Coalition for Economic Equality v. Wilson, in which the 9th Circuit found Section 31 was constitutional.

"As such, the 9th Circuit considered the very scenario plaintiffs now allege," Conti wrote. "The court found that in barring the use of constitutionally permissible racial preferences to remediate past and present discrimination, Section 31 did not violate the Equal Protection Clause."

Conti continued: "Because the 9th Circuit has already determined that a conventional equal protection challenge to Section 31, as it applies to all state-sponsored affirmative action programs, must fail, the court finds that plaintiffs' traditional equal protection challenge fails. Furthermore, the court finds plaintiffs' challenge to Section 31 is so clearly precluded by Wilson as to render amendment of the claim to be futile."

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