Attorney General Lockyer Applauds U.S. Supreme Court for Recognizing Need for Diverse Workforce

High Court Rules Educational Diversity is a Compelling State Interest

Monday, June 23, 2003
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

(SACRAMENTO) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer today commented on the U.S. Supreme Court's rulings in two Michigan affirmative action cases, Gratz et al. v. Bollinger and Grutter V. Bollinger et al:

"The U.S. Supreme Court today ruled there is a ‘real world' need to have diversity in our colleges and universities. I am pleased that the court agreed with a brief filed by California, 20 other states and the U.S. Virgin Islands, contending that the states have a compelling interest in ensuring a broad range of students are prepared for the workforce and to meet the country's needs.

"Throughout most of our country's history, we have pursued policies of discrimination and, at times, even the annihilation of minorities. While affirmative action was once thought only necessary to right the wrongs of years past, today's ruling correctly recognizes that diversity and appreciation for different points of view in the educational setting is essential to this country's future economic and social success here at home and abroad. I concur with the views expressed in this case by dozens of business leaders and the United States military that educating a diverse population and preparing them for the real world is critical to our future success.

"Today's reality in California forecasts the future of the United States. Our state is currently the most diverse society on the planet, we are a majority-minority state, and dozens of different languages are used both in our schools and in the marketplace. As the rest of the country catches up with California, it will become increasingly important to ensure that academically qualified students from all segments of society have the opportunity to achieve their educational goals.

"Today's ruling will have no direct impact on California public college admission policies. Because the people of California enacted Proposition 209 in 1996, the state will continue to prohibit consideration of race in achieving a diverse student body in our public universities and colleges. However, California policy-makers, educators, students and residents should continue to consider how our state can best ensure that we have the most inclusive and successful public education system in the world."

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