Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Affirmative Action and the ABA

As was noted on the Volokh Conspiracy, we are cosponsoring a panel with the Federalist Society's Civil Rights Practice Group on the newly proposed ABA standard which would require law schools to "demonstrate, by concrete action ... a commitment" to diversity in both acceptance of students and hiring of faculty.

The ABA's previous policy was a suggestion. This one would be a command - for those schools which wish to become or remain accredited. The merits of affirmative action are a separate question that whether the sole accreditor should be able to require such actions. And then there are the constitutional and legal considerations under Title VII and the Equal Protection Clause.

Come Monday, March 20, at noon and hear all about it!

Our moderator:

Thomas Morgan, professor at George Washington, and former President of the Association of American Law Schools

Our panelists:

David Bernstein, a George Mason professor whose Wall Street Journal article on the topic provoked a response from the ABA President (reported by bloggers here and here for those without WSJ access).

Roger Clegg, the President of the Center for Equal Opportunity.

Jim Freeman, staff attorney at the Advancement Project.

And our own professor Peter Edelman.


Here is the markup version of the proposal. Some excerpts:

Standard 211(b)
"Consistent with sound educational policy and the Standards, a law school shall demonstrate by concrete action a commitment to having a faculty and staff that are diverse with respect to gender, race and ethnicity."

Interpretation 211-1:
"The requirements of a constitutional provision or statute that purports to prohibit consideration of gender, race, ethnicity or national origin in admissions or employment decisions is not a justification for a school’s non-compliance with Standard 211." (emphasis added)

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