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Proposition 209

In Hi-Voltage Wire Works, Inc. v. City of San Jose (2000) 24 Cal.4th 537, the California Supreme Court held that the City of San Jose's MBE/WBE program violates Proposition 209, California Constitution, article I, section 31, which prohibits, among other things, "preferences" in public employment. San Jose's program requires that prime contractors either (1) document that they would be using the number of MBE/WBE subcontractors on a project that would be expected in the absence of discrimination; or (2) document that they had contacted and at least attempted to negotiate with four MBE/WBE subcontractors in each appropriate trade area identified for a project. The Supreme Court held that both of these requirements violate Proposition 209. The Office of the Attorney General filed an amicus brief supporting the constitutionality of focused or targeted recruitment or outreach programs, and personally presented oral argument to the Court.

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