WASHINGTON, Aug. 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, the U.S.
Commission on Civil Rights is releasing the path-breaking briefing report
Affirmative Action in American Law Schools, a critical evaluation of the
use of racial preferences in American law school admissions. This
Commission finds that "admitting students into law schools for which they
might not academically be prepared could harm their academic performance
and hinder their ability to obtain secure and gainful employment..."
Moreover, the Commission finds that racial preferences might also
contribute to racial income and wealth disparities. The Commission
expresses particular concern about the lack of transparency in law school
admissions, urging legislation to require federally-funded law schools to
publicly disclose their use of racial preferences.
The Commission admonished that the American Bar Association's Council
of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions of the Bar has adopted a
diversity standard that tacitly prods law schools to use racial preferences
in student admissions. The Commission criticizes the ABA standard because
it "substitutes the judgment of the Council for that of the law schools in
deciding whether diversity is essential to their educational mission."
Chairman Gerald A. Reynolds commented, "Race-based admissions have been
found to harm minority law students by setting them up for failure. Law
schools that continue to use racial preferences despite this evidence
should at least disclose the risks of academic mismatch to minority student
applicants." Continuing, Chairman Reynolds said, "A true civil rights
strategy would focus on these students much earlier in their educational
development, rather than providing them with inadequate training and then
using preferential treatment to admit them into schools at which they are
likely to fail."
The Commission approved the body of the report, exclusive of the
findings and recommendations, by a vote of 6 to 0. Chairman Gerald A.
Reynolds, Vice Chair Abigail Thernstrom, and Commissioners Jennifer C.
Braceras, Gail Heriot, Peter N. Kirsanow, and Ashley L. Taylor, Jr. voted
in favor. Commissioners Arlan D. Melendez and Michael Yaki abstained. The
Commission approved the findings and recommendations by votes of 6 to 2, 6
to 1 and 5 to 2, with some abstentions. Chairman Gerald A. Reynolds, Vice
Chair Abigail Thernstrom, and Commissioners Jennifer C. Braceras, Gail
Heriot, and Peter N. Kirsanow voted in favor of the findings and
recommendations. Commissioner Ashley L. Taylor, Jr. voted in favor of all
findings and recommendations except for one on which he abstained.
Commissioner Arlan D. Melendez voted against the findings and
recommendations. Commissioner Michael Yaki voted against all findings and
recommendations except for one on which he abstained.
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is an independent, bipartisan
agency charged with monitoring federal civil rights enforcement. Members
include Chairman Gerald A. Reynolds, Vice Chairman Abigail Thernstrom, and
Commissioners Jennifer C. Braceras, Gail Heriot, Peter N. Kirsanow, Arlan
D. Melendez, Ashley L. Taylor, Jr., and Michael Yaki. Kenneth L. Marcus is
Staff Director. Commission meetings are open to the media and general
SOURCE U.S. Commission on Civil Rights