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Brad Karp and Jeh Johnson Lead NYSBA Diversity Task Force Ahead of Supreme Court Affirmative Action Decision

June 15, 2023

Chairman Brad Karp and litigation partner Jeh Johnson are leading a New York State Bar Association task force that will provide guidance to colleges and businesses on how to maintain diversity in the event that the U.S. Supreme Court ends or restricts longstanding affirmative action programs and policies.

In the next few weeks, the Supreme Court is expected to rule on Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard University and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina, two challenges of race-conscious admissions policies. A ruling in favor of Students for Fair Admissions, the petitioner in both cases, could result in a major surge in legal challenges to corporate diversity programs, Brad and Jeh note in articles in the New York State Bar Association news center and New York Law Journal.

“If the court overrules Grutter v. Bollinger and declares that diversity does not constitute a compelling interest in higher education, the standard set in the landmark case, the rulings will upend decades of legal precedent,” Jeh says. “Universities will be searching for legal means to sustain diversity, which is both morally right and educationally sound. A more diverse student body leads to a richer learning environment and better prepares students for any career imaginable.”

“Our long history of breaking down barriers has taught us that diversity of thought makes our colleges, our businesses, our law firms and our courts stronger,” Brad says. “We will never achieve true equity in our society if we are willing to sacrifice diversity. Preserving diversity by all legal means is a social imperative.”

» Read about the Task Force

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