Law & Principles
Ray Carter | September 5, 2023
Oklahoma law schools silent after Supreme Court ruling
Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the race-based admissions processes used by Harvard College and the University of North Carolina violated students’ rights under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
After the court’s decision, America First Legal sent letters to law schools across the country, asking if those schools plan to comply with the court’s ruling.
But officials at Oklahoma’s law schools apparently have little to say.
In mostly identical letters sent to law schools nationwide, Stephen Miller, president of America First Legal, noted that under the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College it is unlawful for law schools to accept “students with lower LSAT scores and academic credentials than those demanded of others based on their race, sex, or national origin. It is unlawful for your school to violate Title VI, Title VII, and Title IX in its faculty hiring by discriminating in favor of female and minority faculty candidates at the expense of others. It is unlawful for your school to allow their student-run journals to give discriminatory preferences to women and minorities in membership and article selection.”
Miller also called on the law schools to “immediately announce the termination of all forms of race, national origin, and sex preferences in student admissions, faculty hiring, and law- review membership or article selection,” and urged law schools to announce an “official policy that prohibits all components of the law school from giving preferential treatment to anyone because of that individual’s race, national origin, or sex.”
America First Legal describes itself as a civil rights organization that provides free legal services to victims of unlawful discrimination. In his letter, Miller wrote that if law schools continue to engage in activity now declared unconstitutional in Students for Fair Admissions that America First Legal will provide legal representation to individuals who encounter illegal discrimination.
The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs requested comment from the law schools at the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City University, and the University of Tulsa, asking if the schools received Miller’s letter and what policy changes the law schools had adopted following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling.
None of the three schools responded.
The opinion handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court in Students for Fair Admissions bluntly stated, “Eliminating racial discrimination means eliminating all of it.”
“Many universities have for too long wrongly concluded that the touchstone of an individual’s identity is not challenges bested, skills built, or lessons learned, but the color of their skin,” the opinion stated. “This Nation’s constitutional history does not tolerate that choice.”
[For more stories about higher education in Oklahoma, visit AimHigherOK.com.]
Director, Center for Independent Journalism
Ray Carter is the director of OCPA’s Center for Independent Journalism. He has two decades of experience in journalism and communications. He previously served as senior Capitol reporter for The Journal Record, media director for the Oklahoma House of Representatives, and chief editorial writer at The Oklahoman. As a reporter for The Journal Record, Carter received 12 Carl Rogan Awards in four years—including awards for investigative reporting, general news reporting, feature writing, spot news reporting, business reporting, and sports reporting. While at The Oklahoman, he was the recipient of several awards, including first place in the editorial writing category of the Associated Press/Oklahoma News Executives Carl Rogan Memorial News Excellence Competition for an editorial on the history of racism in the Oklahoma legislature.