Today, the ACR Project joined CFER in formally registering with the California’s Assembly our opposition to ACA 7.
Since Californians approved the California Civil Rights Initiative in 1996, California’s constitution has barred the state and its subdivisions (with only narrow exceptions) from discriminating based on race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in public employment, public education, or public contracting. A larger majority of Californians reaffirmed that bar in 2020, by defeating the legislature’s proposed repeal, than had adopted it decades earlier.
Unchastened by these repeated, clear statements of the public’s position, ACA 7 proposes to amend the state constitution to blast a giant hole in the resulting clear, sweeping prohibition. Under the pretense that its proposed allowance of “research-based” and “research-informed” “culturally specific programs” would carve a small but meaningful exception out of the CCRI, ACA 7 would effectively gut it. ACA 7 would allow the Governor to authorize race-specific policies whenever an expert opines that doing so would “increase the likelihood of a favorable outcome.” But one can find “research” supporting anything — effectively, ACA 7 would would make compliance with the CCRI optional, requiring politicians to follow it when they feel like it, but not when they don’t.
In the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s SFFA decisions, that is clearly unconstitutional. Because it would also open the door to Governors authorizing violations of Title VI and Title IX, it would potentially cost California billions of dollars of federal funding. And, because ACA 7 amends one relevant state constitutional provision (Article I, Section 31), while leaving another (Article I, Section 7) unaltered, it promises to create a situation where the California constitution simultaneously authorizes and forbids the same policies.
That is legally and financially untenable. It also asks Californians effectively the same question already asked and already answered twice in 25 years, when precisely no evidence suggests that they have changed their mind since 2020. The Assembly should stop harassing voters and making them repeat the clear message they’ve sent with their votes on each relevant ballot initiative. Fetch isn’t going to happen and it’s high time the Assembly accepts that and stops asking.
You can read our full letter, below.