New York State Bar Association sets guidelines post-affirmative action Supreme Court ruling

September 19, 2023 Rob Abruzzese
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Following the landmark Supreme Court decision that deemed race-based affirmative action programs unconstitutional in college admissions, the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) is stepping forward with a comprehensive guide to aid universities, graduate schools, law firms and corporations in their efforts to uphold diversity. The association will present these significant recommendations later this month.

Richard Lewis, president of the NYSBA, conveyed the association’s sense of responsibility to address the massive gap left by the landmark ruling. 

“As the biggest state bar association in the country and one that welcomes everyone — conservative lawyers and liberal lawyers, attorneys from rural upstate communities and attorneys from around the world — we knew that we needed to fill the void created in the wake of the Supreme Court opinion,” Lewis said. “That’s why we moved so quickly to address the court’s ruling on affirmative action.”

The anticipated report, curated by the Task Force on Advancing Diversity, will be officially unveiled during a press conference at 10 a.m. on Sept. 20. Members of the task force, including former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, and Brad Karp, chair of Paul, Weiss, will join Richard Lewis to present the findings.

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

This elite task force is composed of leaders across the legal spectrum, including chairs from 16 major law firms, top legal officials from 10 prominent corporations, several of New York’s most respected judges and the esteemed deans of both Columbia and NYU law schools.

The latest Supreme Court decision on affirmative action, Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard, reversed earlier rulings that allowed a limited role for race in college admissions decisions. The Harvard case, along with its companion case against the University of North Carolina, led to this groundbreaking change in how institutions consider race in their admission processes. 

Despite the Supreme Court’s decision against race-based affirmative action in college admissions, the court acknowledged the value of diversity, asserting that universities can still consider a student’s account of how their racial background has influenced their life, provided it directly relates to a distinct quality or capability the student can bring to the institution.



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