Blind Justice (Unsplash)

Florida Joins Tennessee AG In Coalition To Halt Racial Discrimination In Law School Admissions

Blind Justice (Unsplash)
Blind Justice (Unsplash)

In a move to uphold the principles of equality and non-discrimination, Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti has rallied a coalition of 21 state attorneys general to demand that the American Bar Association (ABA) cease its requirement for law schools to engage in unlawful racial discrimination.

This action aims to safeguard the legal profession’s rule of law and integrity, ensuring that the standards for legal education align with the Constitution and federal civil rights laws.

At the heart of this issue lies the ABA’s Standard 206, a policy that directs law school administrators to treat students and faculty differently based on their race.

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This standard, as outlined in the ABA’s Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools 2023–2024, has been intensely scrutinized by the coalition of state attorneys general.

The attorneys general argue that Standard 206 cannot be reconciled with the recent Supreme Court decision in Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President & Fellows of Harvard College (SFFA). While the ABA is considering revisions to the standard in light of this landmark ruling, the proposed changes continue to include the unlawful requirement for law schools to engage in race-based admissions and hiring practices.

The letter from the coalition of state attorneys general highlights the inherent conflict between Standard 206 and the requirements of federal law.

Law school accreditation, a crucial process overseen by the ABA, now rests on a delicate balance between the ABA’s directives and the mandates of the Constitution and civil rights legislation.

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“The rule of law cannot long survive if the organization that accredits legal education requires every American law school to ignore the Constitution and civil rights law,” said Attorney General Skrmetti. “The American Bar Association has long pursued the high calling of promoting respect for the law and the integrity of the legal profession, and we call on the organization to recommit to those ideals and ensure that its standards for law schools comport with federal law. If the standards continue to insist on treating students and faculty differently based on the color of their skin, they will burden every law school in America with punitive civil rights litigation.”

The letter is signed by Attorney General Skrmetti and 20 of his fellow state attorneys general, representing a diverse coalition from across the country.

The states included are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Virginia.

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