Coalition of AGs Urges ABA to End Racial Discrimination in Law Schools

21 state attorneys general request the ABA to revise its accreditation standards to comply with federal law.

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti, along with 20 other state attorneys general, has sent a letter to the American Bar Association (ABA) demanding that it cease requiring law schools to engage in race-based treatment of students and faculty as a part of their accreditation process. The ABA is the accrediting body for American law schools.

The policy in question is outlined in Standard 206 of the ABA’s Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools 2023–2024. The letter argues that Standard 206 is incompatible with the United States Supreme Court’s recent decision in Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President & Fellows of Harvard College (SFFA). Although the ABA is contemplating revisions to Standard 206 in light of the SFFA decision, the proposed changes still include the requirement for law schools to employ race-based admissions and hiring practices. The attorneys general urge the ABA to align its standards with federal law and its own commitment to uphold the legal and ethical foundations of the nation.

Attorney General Skrmetti emphasized the importance of adhering to the rule of law, stating, “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. 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 underscores that law school accreditation is precariously balanced between the directives of Standard 206 and federal legal requirements. It also discusses the negative impacts of denying individuals educational and employment opportunities based on race. The letter concludes that regardless of the intentions behind Standard 206, it cannot be lawfully implemented as it currently stands or in its proposed revised forms. The Supreme Court has clarified that well-intentioned racial discrimination is equally illegal as malicious discrimination.

The letter is co-signed by attorneys general from Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Virginia.

To read a copy of the letter, please click here.

Source: Read Original Release

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