AJCongress mapping post-209 strategies

"[The refusal] does not mean that affirmative action is either dead or inherently unconstitutional," the statement said. "The Court itself repeatedly has reminded us that its refusal to review a case should not be construed as an adjudication of its legal merits."

According to the statement, this is particularly true in this case because the Court had been asked to rule on the limits of actions taken by a popular referendum, not on the constitutionality of the Proposition.

Still, despite the AJCongress' assertion that the Court's ruling is not a definitive ruling on the constitutionality of affirmative action, the AJCongress stressed that an important precedent has been set.

"…the Court's action suggests that it is no longer unthinkable for a state to ban race or gender from being a factor in state hiring or school admission," the statement said. "We believe that there are occasions and circumstances when affirmative action is desirable; but it is also clear that there are now substantial legal limits on such programs. [Monday's] decision does not tell us where those limitations are."

Several cases now pending before the Supreme Court may give it an opportunity to more clearly review the constitutionality of affirmative action, however.