Florida joins Tennessee AG in coalition to end racial discrimination in law school admissions

Blind Justice (Unsplash)
Blind Justice (Unsplash)

In an effort to uphold the principles of equality and non-discrimination, Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti has assembled a coalition of 21 attorneys general to demand that the American Bar Association (ABA) stop the requirement that law schools engage in unlawful racial discrimination. .

The purpose of this action is to protect the rule of law and integrity of the legal profession and to ensure that legal education standards are consistent 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 set out in the ABAs Standards and procedural rules for the approval of law schools 2023-2024has been intensively investigated by the coalition of attorneys general.

The attorneys general argue that Standard 206 is inconsistent with the recent Supreme Court ruling Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. to President & Fellows of Harvard College (SFFA). While the ABA considers 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 attorneys general highlights the inherent conflict between Standard 206 and the requirements of federal law.

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

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“The rule of law cannot long survive if the organization that accredits legal education requires every U.S. law school to ignore the Constitution and civil rights law,” said Attorney General Skrmetti. “The American Bar Association has long held 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 these ideals and ensure that its standards for law schools are consistent 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 lawsuits.”

The letter was signed by Attorney General Skrmetti and 20 of his fellow 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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