The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling this week that the University of Washington School of Law didn't discriminate against three white applicants validates the law school's...

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The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling this week that the University of Washington School of Law didn’t discriminate against three white applicants validates the law school’s and higher education’s efforts to ensure educational diversity.

The court recognizes and approves of diversity as a critical value in education.
The ruling also puts to rest the pernicious myth that the three white applicants denied admission to the law school in the mid-1990s were victims of discrimination. The 9th Circuit panel found that the law school’s admissions policy from 1994-96 met criteria set in the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling last year on using affirmative action in higher education.

And let’s not forget U.S. District Judge Thomas Zilly’s 2002 ruling, which said the three would not have been admitted to the law school even under a race-neutral admissions policy.

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If the three have been victims in any regard, it is of a political campaign to undo racial progress in Washington state. They were used to drive forward the dishonest Initiative 200, which outlawed state preferences for women and minorities in education, hiring and contracting.

Virtually every court has now spoken. Affirmative action can be used to craft thoughtful policies of inclusion and equal opportunity. Everywhere, that is, except this state. I-200 remains the mean-spirited law in Washington.

With significant court rulings on their side, it is time for the state Legislature to dismantle the law.

I-200 is a barrier blocking women and minorities from the aspirations most of us take for granted. Two years after the initiative became law, minority attendance at schools across the state was down. Most significant was the reduced presence of people of color at certain professional schools, including the UW’s School of Law.

The same trend holds in state construction contracts.

The courts have spoken. What says the Legislature?