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JUDGE CAN'T BEAT PEOPLE'S WILL IN CIVIL RIGHTS INITIATIVE.

Byline: Joe Gelman

WE are free from the oppressive, bizarre, discriminatory rulings of San Francisco U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson and his ACLU cronies. Free from the lies and misrepresentations that have managed to tie up the California Civil Rights Initiative in courts for the past six months.

Going well beyond what supporters and opponents of Proposition 209 predicted, a randomly chosen, three-judge panel of the United States 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has not only unanimously proclaimed Proposition 209 to be constitutional but it has reasserted the basic American principle that all individuals are to be treated equally by our government, without regard to race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin.

The ruling was sweeping in its scope and will have a profound impact on California and the nation as a whole.

``Civil rights'' groups are stunned. With the passage and now judicial confirmation of the constitutionality of Proposition 209, suddenly the affirmative action racial and gender preference programs that they have been so enthusiastically promoting for years are deemed discriminatory and illegal in the largest state in the union.

The meaning of equality in California has been redefined, sending a bullet through the very heart of Proposition 209 opponents' belief systems.

Professional promoters of nondiscrimination and equality have now been, by default, judged to be major promoters of discrimination and inequality themselves, not only by a majority of California's electorate but by a legal panel of federal judges.

This is an ironic reality that they will find exceedingly hard to swallow.

Over the years, ``civil rights'' organizations have drifted far from the original mission of the civil rights movement, which was the quest for race-neutral equality before the law, and genuine integration. When the idea of group rights began to be emphasized over principles of individual rights, the movement began its long slide into the moral abyss.

By the late '70s, the movement had been literally hijacked, taken hostage by intolerant professional radicals, who promptly turned it into a whining racial and gender grievance industry. An industry whose primary function became to engender a sense of victimization and helplessness into large segments of our population, with an inherent political and financial interest in heightening race and gender consciousness and tension, instead of lowering that consciousness and tension.

Naturally, these ``helpless victims'' would need somebody to ``represent'' them. Enter the contemporary professional, shrill, affirmative-action-promoting ``civil rights'' activists, who view the world strictly from the prism of race, gender and class. In the past few decades, these activists have managed to institutionalize racial tension in America and turn it into a profitable industry.

Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Benjamin Chavis and Louis Farrakhan are only some of the names associated with that industry, but the reality is that there are literally thousands of professional ``activists,'' with titles like ``diversity consultant,'' who are milking the system and working hard to maintain it.

From the very first day, the small group of people who established the political campaign to undo affirmative action preferences in California made it their mission to strike a massive blow against the entrenched and corrupt ``civil rights'' establishment, for the principle of true equality.

The idea was to re-establish the original intent of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and to liberate the term ``civil rights'' from the radical hostage takers.

The language of Proposition 209, which was tightly written by two academics in Northern California, Dr. Tom Wood and Dr. Glynn Custred, was extracted directly, almost word for word, from the 1964 Civil Rights Act. As in the 1964 Civil Rights Act, discrimination is prohibited. But they also added that granting preferential treatment is prohibited as well, thus closing the legal loophole that justified preferential affirmative action programs based on race and gender.

Even though many appeals are expected, and it might be a little longer before actual enactment, we can safely begin to view the golden state as a racial and gender ``preference-free zone.'' Liberated from the shackles of the victimizing quota-mongers and their supporters in the press, who have for years categorized us, and divided us by our race and gender .

All California citizens will finally be equal before the law, all could apply to the public university of their choice, apply for a job with a public institution, or seek a government contract, without having to worry about some state quota bureaucrat manning the doors and deciding who will enter and who will not, based on skin color or chromosome count.

The principle of advancement by merit, a term mostly hated by the left, has been legally confirmed as our state's guiding principle when it comes to civil rights.

Another, just as important principle has been re-established as well and that is that ``we the people'' are in control of our constitutional democracy.

California citizens have for too long now tolerated a reality in which their will has been repeatedly undermined by an excessively activist judiciary.

And Judge Thelton Henderson is the king of that kind of judicial activism. He is one of the most overturned judges in the entire United States. Fortunately, he was overturned once again. He received what amounted to an unprecedented stinging rebuke from 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Diarmuid O'Scannlain, who stated that:

``A system which permits one judge to block with the stroke of a pen what 4,736,180 state residents voted to enact as law, tests the integrity of our constitutional democracy. If the federal court were to decide what the interests of the people are in the first place, judicial power would trump self-government as the general rule of our constitutional democracy.''

O'Scannlain then went on to explain that ``impediments to preferential treatment do not deny equal protection,'' as Henderson had tried to establish. ``As a matter of conventional equal protection analysis, there is simply no doubt that Proposition 209 is constitutional . . . We must conclude that, as a matter of law, Proposition 209 does not violate the United States Constitution.''

That Judge Henderson and his ACLU friends shamelessly tried to invalidate the will of the electorate with twisted and cynical arguments in the first place was an insult to our intelligence and a slap in the face of California voters. Henderson literally tried to reverse the results of a free and democratic election, and he got called on it.

The California Civil Rights Initiative, or Proposition 209, is not only constitutional and morally correct, but it will very soon be the law. Expect 209 opponents, like the southern segregationist bullies of old, to continue to engage in every low-down tactic in the book in an effort to get around the law. We must confront them at every turn.

The issue of civil rights in America is far too important to leave to the irresponsible, self-appointed ``civil rights'' establishment.
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Title Annotation:VIEWPOINT
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Apr 13, 1997
Words:1133
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