NAPABA Files Amicus Brief in Supreme Court Affirmative Action Case

For Immediate Release:
Date: August 3, 2022

Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director

WASHINGTON – The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) filed an amicus brief in the cases challenging affirmative action before the Supreme Court, Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina. We were joined on the brief by the National LGBTQ+ Bar Association.

In the brief, the bars reiterated their support for the principles laid out in Grutter v. Bollinger (2003), which allowed the consideration of race as a factor in college admissions as part of a holistic admissions process. The brief lays out the importance of diversity in the legal profession and the impact overturning holistic admissions in college on current efforts to diversify the legal pipeline. The brief did not address the second question posed by the Court about the practices and policies implemented by either Harvard or the University of North Carolina.

NAPABA has consistently supported the principle of holistic admissions since it first submitted an amicus brief in Grutter with a coalition of Asian Pacific American organizations. NAPABA was joined by other diverse bars reiterating their support for affirmative action and the impact on the legal profession in both Fisher v. Texas (2013) and Fisher v. Texas (2016). This principle was codified and most recently affirmed by the NAPABA Board of Governors as the organization’s standing policy in 2015.

NAPABA thanks Dan Bromberg, Appellate Practice leader, and Shelby Dyl of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, for serving as pro bono counsel on this brief. We thank Albert Giang of King & Spalding LLP and Radha Pathak of Stris & Maher LLP, for their leadership as Co-Chairs of NAPABA’s Amicus Committee and contributions to the brief. A special thanks to Kevin Fong, former NAPABA Amicus Chair, for his advice and contributions.

###

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), represents the interests of over 60,000 Asian Pacific American (APA) legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local APA bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting APA communities. Through its national network, NAPABA provides a strong voice for increased diversity of the federal and state judiciaries, advocates for equal opportunity in the workplace, works to eliminate hate crimes and anti-immigrant sentiment and promotes the professional development of people of all backgrounds in the legal profession.

NAPABA Statement on the Yale Affirmative Action Case

For Immediate Release: August 18, 2020

Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director
Email: ppurandare@napaba.org

WASHINGTON—Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice asserted that Yale University had violated federal civil rights law against Asian American and white applicants by using race as a determinative factor in its undergraduate admissions process. NAPABA strongly disapproves of any form of racial discrimination, including in college admissions. The organization understands the importance of diversity in education, and that race is one of the many factors in a holistic admissions process as established by the U.S. Supreme Court.

“While we continue to review information on the Department of Justice’s findings to fully evaluate the Yale University case, diversity remains a critical and compelling interest for universities to achieve,” said Bonnie Lee Wolf, president of NAPABA. “NAPABA is in support of race-conscious standards as a part of a holistic admissions process. We also support continuing efforts by colleges and universities to improve their admissions processes, including their work to recognize and address implicit bias. Our support of these principles has included filing of amicus briefs in the seminal cases of Grutter v. Bollinger and Fisher v. University of Texas in support of the universities and the importance of diversity. NAPABA will closely monitor the alleged claims against Yale University.”

Two years ago, NAPABA supported the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts’ ruling that upheld the use of race conscious admissions in Students For Fair Admissions v. Harvard. In 2015, NAPABA issued an organizational statement in support of Affirmative Action and that the policy is necessary to increase diversity, equity and inclusion in education.

AABANY Co-Sponsors: Asian Americans and Higher Education: An End to Affirmative Action?

On Tuesday April 30, 2019, Asia Society and the Asian American Bar Association of New York co-hosted a lively discussion on the lawsuit Students for Fair Admission vs. Harvard University.  Currently winding its way through the Federal courts, Asian Americans and affirmative action have become a point of focus in contemporary political debate.

Within the Asian American community itself, a grassroots Asian American conservative movement has emerged in the last decade, in an attempt to end affirmative action.  This conservative movement alleges that admissions discrimination in the name of diversity is wrong. That view was represented by Jack Ouyang, from the Asian American Coalition for Education.  

Asian American liberals believe that conservative Asian Americans are being used as cover to abolish affirmative action, and fear a defeat of affirmative action means a loss for diversity in all of higher education.  Nicole Gon Ochi from Asian American Advancing Justice -LA represented the view.

Dr. Van Tran, Columbia University sociologist, presented new research on what Asian Americans thought of affirmative action.

Audience members were treated to a deep dive into the issue, with views from both sides represented on the podium.  A reception followed, at which attendees got to continue their conversations around this important topic.

Thanks to everyone who came out for this event. Thanks especially to all the speakers for their insights and views. See below for short bios of all the speakers. (Thanks to Elsa Ruiz for the event photos.)

Chris M. Kwok, Esq. (moderator) serves as the Co-Chair of the Issues Committee and Asia Practice Committee for the Asian American Bar Association of New York. He received his B.A from Cornell University with a major in Government and minor in Asian American studies, and his J.D from UCLA Law School, where he served on the staff of the Asian American Pacific Islander Law Journal.  Formerly, he was the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Coordinator at the U.S. Equal Employment Commission in the New York District office. He is a mediator with JAMS.

Dr. Van C. Tran is a professor of Sociology at Columbia University whose research and writing broadly focuses on the incorporation of Asian immigrants and their children into American culture, politics and society.  He has served in many positions at both the Eastern Sociological Society and the American Sociological Association. He is a frequent commentator in the media and was selected as an NPR Source of the Week in July of 2015.

Nicole Gon Ochi, Esq. is the Supervising Attorney at Asian Americans Advancing Justice—LA’s Impact Litigation unit. She joined Advancing Justice as a Skadden Fellow in 2010 and has taken a lead role in litigating and providing advocacy on matters involving employment discrimination, education, workers’ rights, affordable housing preservation, language access, and civil rights.

Dr. Jack Ouyang is the Vice President of Operations at the Asian American Coalition for Education. Mr. Ouyang has been an outspoken Chinese American civil rights activist and was a key organizer of the Chinese American for Equality. He was a board chair at the Millburn Short Hills Chinese Association and the Millburn Institute of Talent. He is currently an IT Professional based in New Jersey.

Press Release: NAPABA and Partners Applaud Ruling in Fisher v. University of Texas

WASHINGTON — The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) and its partner organizations applaud the Supreme Court’s ruling in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, which reaffirms the principle that diversity in higher education is a compelling interest. In light of this decision, colleges and universities may continue to develop effective admissions policies that include race as a factor as part of a holistic review to create diversity and opportunity in the applicant pool.

“Today the Supreme Court affirmed the important role race-conscious admissions policies have in ensuring diversity in our nation’s colleges and universities,” said NAPABA President Jin Y. Hwang. “As lawyers of color, we see the beneficial impacts of these policies every day in the legal workforce and we recognize that diversity in higher education is critical to ensuring we have a pipeline of talented lawyers and judges able to serve their communities. We are encouraged that the Court continued to recognize these benefits for our country and allow colleges and universities to continue to ensure diversity and inclusion on campuses.”

The Coalition of Bar Associations of Color (CBAC) — NAPABA, the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA), the National Bar Association (NBA), and the National Native American Bar Association (NNABA) — issued a joint statement supporting the ruling, which can be read here.

CBAC member bar associations jointly filed an amicus curiae brief with the Supreme Court in Fisher that recognized the importance of race-conscious admissions policies to communities of color and the important role they play in ensuring diversity in the legal profession. The brief is available here.

NAPABA joined national Asian Pacific American community organizations — Asian Americans Advancing Justice (Advancing Justice) and the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) — to support the University’s holistic review process. The organizations issued a joint statement applauding the result and can be read here.

Press Release: NAPABA Statement on Today’s Arguments in Fisher v. University of Texas

For Immediate Release
Dec. 9 , 2015

For More Information, Contact:
Brett Schuster, Communications Manager
bschuster@napaba.org, 202-775-9555

Today,
the Supreme Court heard arguments in Fisher v. University of
Texas-Austin, a challenge to the University’s race-conscious admissions
policy. As the arguments demonstrated, the Court should continue to
uphold the long-standing precedent that diversity is a compelling
interest in college admission policies, and uphold the University of
Texas-Austin’s admissions plan.

The
National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), along with
its fellow members of the Coalition of Bar Associations of Color, filed
an amicus brief demonstrating the importance of building a diverse
pipeline of students who will enter the legal profession. As future
leaders and custodians of the legal system, it is important that
students have wide-ranging experiences, engage with diverse populations,
and be representative of varied backgrounds. As current events
demonstrate, it is equally imperative that today’s students develop
empathy, understanding, and acceptance — traits which will become
essential throughout their lives and careers.

Diversity
and inclusion benefit all communities. Asian Pacific Americans, like
other groups, have endured discrimination and a lack of opportunities
that continue to impact us today. NAPABA urges the Court to recognize
that race-conscious admissions policies ultimately benefit the American
community as a whole.

For more information, the media may contact Brett Schuster, NAPABA communications manager, at 202-775-9555 or bschuster@napaba.org.


The
National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the
national association of Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law
professors, and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of
approximately 50,000 attorneys and approximately 75 national, state, and
local Asian Pacific American bar associations. Its members include solo
practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal services
and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of
government.

NAPABA
continues to be a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting
Asian Pacific American communities. Through its national network of
committees and affiliates, NAPABA provides a strong voice for increased
diversity of the federal and state judiciaries, advocates for equal
opportunity in the workplace, works to eliminate hate crimes and
anti-immigrant sentiment, and promotes the professional development of
people of color in the legal profession.

To learn more about NAPABA, visit www.napaba.org, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter (@NAPABA).