June 25, 2019
One Factor Among Many? The Future of Affirmative Action
Hon. Denise Page HoodChief Judge, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan; Moderator
Sheryll CashinCarmack Waterhouse Professor of Law, Civil Rights and Social Justice, Georgetown University Law Center
Kristen ClarkePresident and Executive Director, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
Winifred KaoLitigation Director, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus
Richard SanderProfessor of Law, UCLA School of Law
The Supreme Court has previously upheld affirmative action at public higher education institutions, ruling in 2003 that a university can consider race as part of a holistic, multi-factor admissions process, and again in 2013 and 2016, that an applicant’s race can be considered, so long as the process is narrowly tailored to achieve the compelling interest of student body diversity. However, a new legal strategy is now being tested in cases pending against Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and in a lawsuit seeking admissions data from the University of California system. These lawsuits allege discrimination not against white students, which had been the claim in the previous cases, but against Asian American applicants. Moreover, a Department of Justice investigation is underway at Yale as to whether it discriminates against Asian Americans and treats applicants differently on account of race. The investigation follows the Trump administration’s rescission of Obama administration guidelines that sought to enhance student diversity at colleges and universities. Does/should the fact that plaintiffs belong to a racial minority affect the legal analysis in affirmative action cases? And in light of the Supreme Court’s new composition, how likely is this new legal strategy to prevail?
Hon. Denise Page Hood, Chief Judge, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan; Moderator
Sheryll Cashin, Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Law, Civil Rights and Social Justice, Georgetown University Law Center
Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
Winifred Kao, Litigation Director, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus
Richard Sander, Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law
View more videos from the ACS 2019 National Convention.