U.S. Civil Rights Commission Warns That Affirmative Action Might Harm Minority Law Students

    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
 public.
 
 
 

SOURCE U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

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