Friday, May 02, 2008

Could GMU Sue the ABA... and Win?

Maybe so:
Law schools and litigation: what a combo. Yesterday, Geoff posted about profs suing students. Today, the question is: could a law school sue the ABA and win?

Here's the background. Via Orin, I found my way to USD Prawf Gail Heriot's sparky op-ed in the WSJ yesterday about how the ABA pressures schools like George Mason on diversity objectives. After reading it, I came across a post suggesting that GMU should sue the ABA under Section 1981. Since we have some civil rights experts in the audience, I was wondering: could this dog hunt?

After the jump is Hans Bader's argument. Please weigh in on the matter in the comments.

The American Bar Association is continually threatening to pull the accreditation of George Mason University Law School for failing to adopt illegal racial quotas in admissions. That’s what San Diego law professor (and member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights) Gail Heriot notes in the Wall Street Journal. The ABA first forced GMU — one of the few law schools without a marked liberal bias — to use what the ABA itself refers to as “preferential affirmative action admissions program” to radically increase its minority percentage from 6.5 percent to 19 percent. But the ABA still wasn’t happy with the results, which were insufficiently extreme for the ABA’s quota-mongers (never mind that the qualified applicant pool for a law school of GMU’s caliber is lower than 19 percent minority, as is the percentage of non-white lawyers even in heavily-minority states like California, so it’s not as if having 19 percent minorities is a sign of discrimination. Indeed, the ABA conceded that GMU has long had a “very active effort to recruit minorities,” even before adopting racial preferences in admissions). So now the ABA is demanding what are in essence racial quotas.

The ABA’s actions violate 42 U.S.C. 1981 and the Supreme Court’s ruling in Gratz v. Bollinger (2003), which held in footnote 23 that racial quotas violate 42 U.S.C. 1981 (which bans both private and public discrimination) as well as the Fourteenth Amendment (which bans only governmental discrimination). Moreover, the ABA and its accreditors are liable for pressuring GMU to engage in racial discrimination under 42 U.S.C. 1981, which allows not only employers and other institutions to be held liable for racial discrimination, but also individual discriminators. And GMU and its president and law school dean, who were personally summoned to appear before the ABA in order for them to be pressured to maximize GMU’s racial quotas, have standing to sue over those quota mandates under Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod v. FCC, 141 F.3d 344 (D.C. Cir. 1998), which held that the Lutheran Church had standing to sue the FCC to keep the FCC from pressuring it to take race into account in hiring employees for its religious radio stations in order to satisfy a ”diversity” mandate.

Anyone with relevant knowledge think Bader's claims stand a chance of success? My sense is that they wouldn't, putting aside the bombast and rhetoric about quotas, but I'd like to hear more.

No comments: