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A Conversation: Racial Justice Lawyering in a Colorblind Paradigm
Since 1978 when the Supreme Court decided Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, race conscious admissions policy, known colloquially as “affirmative action,” has been deemed constitutional if it furthers student body diversity. In 2016, in a case referred to as Fisher II (Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin), the Supreme Court re-affirmed that the educational benefits that flow from student body diversity remain a compelling interest rendering race conscious admissions policy constitutional.

Opponents of race conscious measures have been on the attack for as long as the 14th Amendment has been enshrined in the Constitution. More specifically, the latest assault on race conscious admissions takes the form of two cases—SFFA v. Harvard and SFFA v. UNC—now pending before the Supreme Court, currently scheduled for oral arguments on October 31. In both cases, detractors, essentially, argue that Supreme Court precedent recognizing the educational benefit of student body diversity as a compelling government interest should be overruled. If they are successful, it would mean that colleges and universities will no longer be able to consider race as a factor in their admission processes.

But the real question, not to sound hyperbolic, is what would interpreting the Constitution as colorblind mean? LatinoJustice and 18 other national and local Latino, civil rights and public interest organizations submitted an amici (friends of the court) brief arguing that the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment is not colorblind. Our brief and legions of others are unlikely to persuade our current conservative leaning court intent on undoing civil rights gains. Consequently, how would a colorblind Constitution influence, change or impact our work? What, if anything, does it mean for the Latino community? What does it mean to do racial justice work when you can’t see race? These are some of the questions that the webinar will engage.

Oct 19, 2022 05:30 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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