American Bar Association Poised To Mandate Diversity Training, Affirmative Action at Law Schools
Legal scholars say mandates could force law schools to violate federal law
The American Bar Association is poised to mandate diversity training and affirmative action at all of its accredited law schools, a move top legal scholars say could jeopardize academic freedom and force schools to violate federal law.
The association, which accredits nearly every law school in the United States, is mulling a plan that would require schools to "provide education to law students on bias, cross-cultural competency, and racism," including a mandatory ethics course instructing students that they have an obligation to fight "racism in the law." Schools would also be required to "take effective actions" to "diversify" their student bodies—even when doing so risks violating a law that "purports to prohibit consideration of" race or ethnicity.
The proposal has sparked fierce blowback from legal scholars across the country, including 10 emeritus professors at Yale Law School, who called it a "problematic" and "disturbing" attempt to "institutionalize dogma" through the accreditation process. Violating federal law is "not legally defensible conduct for any institution," they wrote in a public comment on the plan in June, nor is it "a legally defensible requirement by an organization certifying law schools."
Those arguments have so far fallen on deaf ears: When the plan was submitted for final review on Aug. 16, it contained all of the provisions to which the Yale professors had objected.
The American Bar Association is not the only accreditation body pushing progressivism. Many of the accreditors for private secondary schools require their members to integrate social justice into every aspect of their curricula, centralizing pedagogical power in the hands of bureaucrats rather than teachers. That's diminished the autonomy of schools as well as families, who increasingly struggle to find institutions that are both well-credentialed and open-minded.
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