EJS, Civil Rights Groups File Brief Asking Calif. Supreme Court to Invalidate Prop. 8

The Equal Justice Society joined other civil rights groups today in filing an amicus brief (PDF) with the California Supreme Court to invalidate Proposition 8 because it would mandate discrimination against a minority group and did not follow the process required for fundamental revisions to the California Constitution.

In the amicus brief, the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Equal Justice Society, California NAACP and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. argue that minority communities cannot be stripped of their fundamental rights by a simple majority vote.

“We would be making a grave mistake to view Proposition 8 as just affecting the LGBT community,” said Eva Paterson, president of the Equal Justice Society. “If the Supreme Court allows Proposition 8 to take effect, it would represent a threat to the rights of people of color and all minorities.”

On Nov. 14, the same groups filed a writ petition with the California Supreme Court to stop the enactment of Proposition 8, but the California Supreme Court on Nov. 20 deferred action on that petition, and invited the petitioners to file an amicus curiae brief.

Download a copy of the amicus brief filed today.

The brief was filed by Raymond C. Marshall of Bingham McCutchen and Prof. Tobias Barrington Wolff of University of Pennsylvania Law School on behalf of leading African American, Latino, and Asian American groups argues that Proposition 8 prevents the courts from exercising their essential constitutional role of enforcing the equal protection rights of minorities. 

The California Constitution requires that any measure attempting to revise the underlying principles of the constitution must first be approved by a two-thirds vote of the legislature before being submitted to the voters. Proposition 8 was not approved through that constitutionally required process.

The court has precedent for invalidating an improper voter initiative. In 1990, the court overruled an initiative that would have added a provision to the California Constitution stating that the “Constitution shall not be construed by the courts to afford greater rights to criminal defendants than those afforded by the Constitution of the United States.” That measure was invalid because it improperly attempted to strip California’s courts of their role as independent interpreters of the state’s constitution.

4 thoughts on “EJS, Civil Rights Groups File Brief Asking Calif. Supreme Court to Invalidate Prop. 8

  1. The Influence of Private Club Soccer on Public School Policy

    Private Club Soccer has crossed from the Private Sector of American Society into the Public School Systems in both High School and College level. More than any other sport in the United States Soccer has become an elitist sport with high schools and colleges dominated by wealthy and upper middle class students that can afford to play on club soccer teams. Club soccer is not the American Youth Soccer Association which on occasions does offer sliding fees or opportunities for lower income children. Club soccer is private, exclusive, ruled by nepotism and the costs are anywhere from $200 to $400 per month to be part of the team. Almost every College and High-school has coaches that are part of Club Soccer and those coaches in turn allow the kids from club soccer to make the team and play. It is truly incredible that our Public School systems have allowed this to happen and enable the continued discrimination of minorities and the under class that cannot afford to pay to be part of a club soccer team.

    All data and research clearly point to the conclusion that we have allowed an elitist eliminate of sports to become part of our Public School Systems throughout the Untied States. How did this happen so rapidly? Is it that we think of soccer as a minority or foreign sport? The fact is that Soccer is the top participatory sport by women in the United States and it is now dominated by the wealthier and upper middle class children whom can afford to be on Club Teams.

    Statistically High School and College Soccer has the least amount of Minorities and under-privileged students than any other sport, even gymnastics! Most high-school soccer players believe that their “Club Team” is more important than their High School Team and also believe that their “Club Team” will be the key to getting a college scholarship. All College recruitment forms ask “What Club Team have you played for?”

    It is one thing to get training for your child in a sport, music, or other skill but when the private teacher then becomes part of the public school system by coaching or working with the coaches and chooses that student over others only because that student is part of their private organization then we have crossed ethical, moral and legal boundaries.

    I think this is an issue that should be addressed and brought to the public’s attention.

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