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The year 1995 saw three major developments that threaten the future of voluntary affirmative action programs in California and nationwide. On June 12, the U.S. Supreme Court in Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Pena, held that voluntary federal affirmative action programs should be subject to the same "strict scrutiny" reserved for all other racial classifications. The following month, the Regents of the University of California voted to abolish the use of race and gender as factors in admissions and hiring in the University of California system. Finally, last year the so-called "California Civil Rights Initiative" ("CCRI") was presented to the citizens of California as a possible ballot measure for the November 1996 statewide elections. The CCRI would outlaw the use of racial "preferences" in any organization receiving state funds. This piece will briefly discuss these developments, highlighting the oddly distorted mix of fact and fantasy that has surrounded the affirmative action debates.


Posted with permission from the Berkeley Women's Law Journal.