Two member firms from the Higher Education Council of the Employment Law Alliance, Curiale Hirschfeld Kraemer LLP of San Francisco and Gray Plant Mooty of Minneapolis – joined forces to prepare an amicus curiae brief on behalf of 14 past student body presidents of the University of Texas at Austin (UT) in the U.S. Supreme Court case Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, 11-345.
In Fisher, the court is reviewing the constitutionality of UT’s holistic admissions policy, in which race is one of many factors considered in certain admissions decisions. In 2003, the court considered the same question in Grutter v. Bollinger, upholding a similar admissions policy that considered a candidate’s race in admission. The amicus brief prepared on behalf of the past student body presidents supports the constitutionality of UT’s admissions policy.
The brief was prepared pro bono by Felicia R. Reid, Natasha J. Baker and Molly M. Richman of Curiale Hirschfeld Kraemer LLP and Megan L. Anderson and Abigail S. Crouse of Gray Plant Mooty. “This case is one of critical importance to institutions of higher education across the country. The Higher Education Council firms that participated were thrilled to be able to work together on such a crucial cause and to provide the court with this important perspective,” said Baker.
The brief “supports the university’s position by providing the court with a voice for the former student body presidents who directly experienced the value of diversity in their education and continue to benefit from this experience in their accomplished careers today,” said Crouse.
In their brief, the past presidents, whose attendance spanned nearly 20 years at UT, share their experiences of diversity over the years under three different admission policies. They conclude that although progress has been made, UT must continue its efforts to achieve the level of student body diversity necessary for obtaining full educational benefits. The past presidents also confirm their unanimous view that the diversity they did experience while attending UT has not only been of “critical importance to their educational experiences but has also been highly beneficial to their post-graduate and professional lives.” Based on their experiences at UT, which is the state's flagship university, they argue that Texas has a “compelling state interest in seeking the educational benefits derived from a racially diverse student body.” This sentiment was echoed in the numerous other amicus briefs filed yesterday in support of the university’s position. Oral argument is currently scheduled for October 10.
About the Higher Education Council of the Employment Law Alliance:
The Higher Education Council of the Employment Law Alliance consists of firms and lawyers committed to serving institutions of higher education. Its attorneys provide national and worldwide support and advice on such issues as labor and employment, intellectual property, establishing out-of-state and overseas programs and campuses, regulatory compliance and immigration. The firms work together to ensure that their client’s needs are met wherever, whenever.
About The Employment Law Alliance:
The Employment Law Alliance (ELA) is the world's largest network of labor and employment lawyers. With specialists in more than 135 countries, all 50 states and each Canadian province, the ELA provides multi-state and multi-national companies with seamless and cost-effective services worldwide. On the web at: http://www.employmentlawalliance.com.
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Further Information -- Please click here to read the Higher Education Council of the Employment Law Alliance's amicus curiae brief.