In the midst of court cases to ban race-conscious admissions policies in the 1990s, opponents of affirmative action in higher education began to use state ballot referenda processes to challenge affirmative action. In the 1990s, two state ballot initiatives were passed by voters, one in California in 1996, and one in Washington in 1998. These initiatives amended those state constitutions to render race-conscious admissions and other affirmative action policies illegal. After the U.S. Supreme Court decisions in Gratz v. Bollinger (2003) and Grutter v. Bollinger (2003) supported the constitutionality of using race and ethnicity as factors in university admissions, affirmative action opponents decided to turn their attention away from the legal arena and focus instead on banning affirmative action through state ballot initiatives. This entry ...

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