Judge Cites ‘Total Lack of Specificity’ as He Files Lawsuit Claiming NYU Law Review Favors Minorities

Law schools

Judge Cites ‘Total Lack of Specificity’ as He Files Lawsuit Claiming NYU Law Review Favors Minorities

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A federal judge on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit alleging that the New York University School of Law illegally used racial and sexual preferences to select some members of its law review board. (Photo from Shutterstock)

A federal judge on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit alleging that the New York University School of Law illegally used racial and sexual preferences to select some members of its law review board.

U.S. District Judge Vernon S. Broderick of the Southern District of New York said the accuser of John Doe, a white male law student, made no factual allegations to support his argument that the law reform illegally discriminates against minorities.

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Broderick dismissed the lawsuit for lack of standing and failure to state a claim. He said the claim failed under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination in programs receiving federal financial assistance; under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination in federally funded education programs; and under Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act of 1871, which allows lawsuits for civil rights violations.

Doe’s allegations, Broderick said, are based on “considerable speculation” and a “complete lack of specificity.”

Doe had quoted Students for Fair Admissions vs. President and Fellows of Harvard Collegea 2023 U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down race-conscious college admissions programs.

Before the Supreme Court’s ruling, the law review board reserved 12 of the 50 law review spots for students chosen by a diversity committee. Among the factors taken into account were the applicant’s “race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, socio-economic background, ideological position, disability and age.”

After the decision, the law review website no longer mentioned a diversity committee or a “diversity set-aside.” Instead, the publication invited students to submit a statement that provided a more comprehensive view of themselves as an individual for the selection process.

According to Doe, the Law Review uses the statements “to give preferential treatment to women, non-Asian racial minorities, homosexuals and transgender people in the selection of its members.”

But the alleged discrimination has not yet occurred, Broderick said. Doe has not been denied a place in the law review. And “significant speculation supports” his belief that students will share information about their minority status in their applications, and that law journal editors will select candidates based on those characteristics.

“Doe never explains the basis for his belief that the ostensibly lawful selection policy masks an otherwise unlawful selection process,” Broderick said. “Such a complete lack of specificity is insufficient to give Doe standing to bring this lawsuit.”

Even if Doe were to prevail, he has no claim for damages because his allegations are “conclusive and undermined by the plain text of the apparently neutral policy,” Broderick wrote.

Furthermore, Broderick said, the lawsuit does not allege intentional discrimination by New York University in implementing the law reform, which is overseen by students.

“Doe makes no claims that NYU plays any role in the day-to-day operations of law review or the selection of its new members, let alone its actual knowledge of any secret plans by unknown editors to give preferential treatment to selected students in violation of federal law,” Broderick said.

Broderick said he dismissed the lawsuit without prejudice so that Doe could file a new lawsuit if his claims ever matured.

Doe was represented by America First Legal, a group founded by Stephen Miller, a former senior adviser to the Trump administration.

Also see:

The NYU School of Law illegally disadvantages white men in review selection, the suit alleges