35 Asian American groups and higher education faculty file amicus brief in support of race-conscious admissions at Harvard

The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) and 34 Asian American groups and higher education faculty today filed an amicus “friend of the court” brief in Massachusetts federal court, opposing a challenge to Harvard’s race-conscious admissions policy (Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) v. Harvard).

“Asian Americans are an extremely diverse population with more than 50 ethnic groups, 100 languages, and a broad range of immigration, socioeconomic, and educational backgrounds,” said Margaret Fung, AALDEF executive director. “Instead of treating Asian Americans as a monolithic group, the individualized race-conscious admissions process at Harvard helps to create a more diverse student body that benefits all students, including Asian Americans.”

The plaintiff organization SFFA was created by Edward Blum, who has a long history of opposing affirmative action and restricting voting rights. In 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected his claims in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin and reaffirmed that race may be considered as one of several factors in the college admissions process. Blum has continued his crusade against affirmative action by recruiting Asian American students to assert that Harvard discriminated against them.

In their brief, AALDEF and other Amici contend that by improperly grouping the diverse pool of Asian American applicants into a single “Asian” category, SFFA actually perpetuates the “model minority” myth and fails to disclose that its requested remedy–the elimination of race-conscious admissions–would mostly benefit white applicants, not Asian Americans.  The Amici reiterated their opposition to caps, quotas, or any negative action against Asian Americans but asserted that SFFA improperly conflates negative action with a race-conscious admissions policy that recognizes the importance of diversity.

Ken Kimerling, AALDEF legal director and one of the attorneys for Amici, said: “This case is hotly contested by witnesses and experts on both sides. However, SFFA has not submitted facts to support a finding of intentional discrimination against Asian Americans.” He noted that SFFA has not presented any supporting statements by the 40 or more persons involved each year to review and analyze the applications for admission. Kimerling said: “If there were a policy, written or unstated, to discriminate against Asian Americans, one or more of the 40 persons would have spoken up about it in the past decade. Clearly, the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment must be denied.”

Foley Hoag LLP is pro bono co-counsel representing the Amici.

In addition to AALDEF, 34 Asian American groups and higher education faculty are Co-Amici:

18 Million Rising
Asian American Federation
Asian American Psychological Association
Asian Americans United
Asian Law Alliance
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance
Asian Pacific American Network
Asian Pacific American Women Lawyers Alliance
Asian Pacific Islander Americans for Civic Empowerment
Chinese for Affirmative Action
Chinese Progressive Association
Coalition for Asian American Children & Families
GAPIMNY
Japanese American Citizens League
Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics
National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development
National Korean American Service & Education Consortium
National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance
OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates
Southeast Asia Resource Action Center

Individuals
(Institutional affiliations provided for identification purposes only)

Vichet Chhuon – U. of Minnesota-Twin Cities
Gabriel J. Chin – University of California, David School of Law
Tarry Hum, MCP, PhD – Queens College CUNY
Anil Kalhan – Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law
Nancy Leong – University of Denver Sturm College of Law
Shirley Lung – City University of New York School of Law
Mari J. Matsuda – William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawai’i at Manoa
Kevin Nadal, PhD – City University of New York
Philip Tajitsu Nash – University of Maryland at College Park
Cathy J. Schlund-Vials – University of Connecticut
Sona Shah – University of Texas at Austin
John Kuo Wei Tchen – Rutgers University-Newark
Margaret Y.K. Woo – Northeastern University School of Law
K. Wayne Yang – University of California, San Diego

You can download the amicus brief here: http://bit.ly/2C1YIkd.

More than 500 Academic Experts on Asian American Studies, Race, and Access to Education Submit Amicus Brief Supporting Race-Conscious College Admissions

More than 500 scholars (list below) holding doctorates in a wide range of academic fields, including education, Asian American studies, political science, economics, sociology, anthropology and psychology, have submitted an amicus curiae (friend-of-the-court) brief in support of Harvard University, in a case currently being considered by the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts.

The lawsuit was filed by Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA), an organization created by Edward Blum, who recruited Asian American plaintiffs in the case after he lost the last major challenge against affirmative action before the U.S. Supreme Court in Fisher v. University of Texas (2016). In the case, SFFA argues that Harvard’s limited consideration of race in its admissions process intentionally discriminates against Asian American applicants. The amicus brief supports the use of race-conscious whole-person review. The brief was filed today.

The brief, submitted by scholars with expertise on Asian American studies, race, and college access, draws upon amici’s original research and the most extensive and up-to-date body of knowledge relevant to the legal issues in the case. The brief addresses: (1) why Asian American applicants, like applicants of all races, benefit from Harvard’s whole-person review process; and (2) why SFFA’s arguments are based on racial myths and stereotypes of Asian Americans.

AMICUS CURIAE BRIEF OF 531 SOCIAL SCIENTISTS AND SCHOLARS ON COLLEGE ACCESS, ASIAN AMERICAN STUDIES, AND RACE IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANT

Continue reading “More than 500 Academic Experts on Asian American Studies, Race, and Access to Education Submit Amicus Brief Supporting Race-Conscious College Admissions”

Advancing Justice Los Angeles Files Brief Supporting Race-conscious Holistic Review

Asian Americans are finding themselves in the crosshairs of the debate on affirmative action. Despite what Edward Blum may claim, the current lawsuit against Harvard is not about Asian Americans. He’s using our community as a cover for his crusade to dismantle affirmative action.

If he thinks we’re going to buy-in to this agenda, he’s wrong.

Today, we filed an amicus brief on behalf of a diverse group of students — including several Asian Americans — in support of Harvard’s holistic review policies. What this means is we are reaffirming our commitment to protecting race-conscious holistic review.

After his failed attempt to end affirmative action at the Supreme Court (Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin), Edward Blum, through Students for Fair Admission, actively began to recruit Asian American students to be plaintiffs for his latest campaign targeting Harvard’s race-conscious holistic admissions.

At the heart of this issue is not whether Asian Americans are discriminated against, but whether Harvard (and other universities and institutions) can continue to value racial diversity in ways in which our country has fallen short. Race-conscious holistic review allows applicants to be valued for who they are as a whole person, beyond just test scores and grades. It allows talented and gifted students from all backgrounds an opportunity to attend college and succeed in life. People of color, including Asian Americans, lose out under a colorblind system.

Earlier this summer, we launched a series of infographics that seek to demystify affirmative action and its importance for Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. We highlighted two infographics a week for the last six weeks, each detailing important facts about affirmative action. If you missed it, I encourage you to look through them on our affirmative action webpage.

We recognize Blum’s strategy for what it is: a thinly veiled attempt to use Asian Americans as a cover to destroy racial diversity across college campuses. We refuse to be used as a wedge in this issue.

We’re in this together,

Nicole Ochi
Supervising Attorney, Impact Litigation
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles

P.S. If you’re interested to learn more, we’re hosting a Twitter Town Hall on Wednesday, August 1st starting at 12 p.m. PT. Join the conversation by following @AAAJ_LA and the hashtag #NotYourCover. Hope to see you there.

Asian American Students File to Join Harvard Lawsuit and Defend Affirmative Action

Cross-posting from reappropriate.co. Read the full post here.

Advancing Justice – Los Angeles (AAAJ-LA) held a press conference moments ago to announce that lawyers with the group will represent two prospective Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) high school students, both seeking to present their support of race-conscious affirmative action admission before the Supreme Court if and when the justices hear arguments next year about an anti-affirmative action lawsuit filed against the school by Edward Blum, the architect behind Abigail Fisher’s earlier failed attempts to dismantle affirmative action before the Court.

The two AAPI high school students represented by AAAJ-LA are current applicants to Harvard University, and both believe that race-conscious affirmative action is beneficial; AAAJ-LA filed paperwork yesterday to help the students join an existing group of diverse students who will have “amicus plus” status to present their support for affirmative action in a pending anti-affirmative action case, Students for Fair Admissions, Inc v. President and Fellows of Harvard College.

In the Students for Fair Admissions case, lobbyist Edward Blum specifically recruited disgruntled Asian American students to serve as the next Abigail Fisher, in hopes of weaponizing a stereotyped, Model Minority Myth narrative of Asian Americans against other students of colour. Blum’s lawsuit alleging bias at Harvard was ultimately consolidated around the case of a still-unnamed Chinese American woman.

“Asian Americans are being exploited, and not to the Asian American community’s benefit,” said Jay Chen, a Harvard Alumnus & Mt. San Antonio College Trustee.

Read the full post here.

Advisory: Asian Americans File to Join Harvard Lawsuit

Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles (Advancing Justice-LA) will file a motion on behalf of two Asian American and Pacific Islander Harvard applicants, to participate in the lawsuit challenging race-conscious admissions policies at Harvard University.

The motion seeks permission for Advancing Justice-LA and the students to join a diverse group of students who support Affirmative action and will have special “amicus plus” status before the court.

Tuesday, December 13 at 10:30 a.m.
Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles
First Floor Community Room
1145 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, 90017
(Located on the corner of Lucas Ave. and Wilshire Blvd.)
RSVP to Jeff DeGuia at jdeguia@advancingjustice-la. org

Scheduled speakers at the press conference:
Jason Fong, Harvard Applicant and Prospective Student Amici
David Fong, Parent of Prospective Student Amici
Nicole Ochi, Supervising Attorney, Advancing Justice – LA
Jay Chen, Harvard Alumnus & Mt. San Antonio College Trustee (*invited)

Originally filed in 2014, Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College, alleges that Harvard’s admissions policy intentionally discriminates against Asian American applicants and violates Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars federally funded entities from discriminating based on race or ethnicity. Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. filed the lawsuit on behalf of an unidentified Chinese American student whose Harvard application was rejected. However, many Chinese and other Asian Americans support race conscious admissions, and the plaintiffs and Advancing Justice-LA are seeking involvement in this case to represent those views.

全國亞太裔組織稱讚最高法院在平權法案一案中的決定

亞美公義促進中心(簡稱Advancing Justice)、亞裔美國人法律保護和教育基金會(簡稱AALDEF)及全國亞太裔律師協會(簡稱NAPABA)共同稱讚最高法院今日在“費雪訴德克薩斯大學”(Fisher v. University of Texas)一案中所發表的意見。法院以四票對三票讚成將種族因素納入大學錄取過程對申請者的全面考慮之中。

“今天,最高法院認可了考慮種族因素的錄取政策對於確保我國高等教育學府多樣性的重要作用。”NAPABA會長Jin Y. Hwang表示,“作為有色人種律師,我們看到了這些政策對於法律工作者的有益影響,我們也意識到高等教育的多樣性對於確保我們能夠擁有更多有才華的律師與法官服務各個社區的重要性。”

艾比蓋.費雪 (Abigail Fisher),此次平權法案一案的主角,一位被德克薩斯大學拒絕的白人學生,聲稱自己因種族問題受到歧視。Advancing Justice、AALDEF及NAPABA共提交了三份非當事人意見陳述,支持大學在審閱入學申請時參考種族等因素的全面評審方式。這些陳述代表了160多個亞太美(AAPI)組織對於高等教育領域平權法案的支持意見。 Continue reading “全國亞太裔組織稱讚最高法院在平權法案一案中的決定”

National AAPI Organizatons Applaud Supreme Court Decision in Affirmative Action Case

Asian Americans Advancing Justice (Advancing Justice), the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) and the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) applaud the U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion released today in Fisher v. University of Texas.

The Court ruled in favor of the consideration of race as part of a holistic review of an applicant in university admissions processes.

“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.”

The case centers on the claim by Abigail Fisher, a white student denied admission to the University of Texas, that she was discriminated against by virtue of her race. Advancing Justice, AALDEF and NAPABA filed three separate amicus briefs in support of the University’s use of race as a factor among many factors taken into consideration as part of a holistic review of an application for admission. Together, the briefs represented more than 160 Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) organizations in support of affirmative action in higher education.

“We are gratified the Supreme Court has recognized the ongoing relevance of race as one of several factors in the college admissions process and the importance of a highly-qualified and diverse student body,” commented Margaret Fung, executive director of AALDEF. “We are glad that Justice Kennedy recognized that the consideration of race may be beneficial to any UT-Austin applicant, including Asian American applicants and, citing AALDEF’s amicus brief, noted that Fisher’s assertion that the university discriminates against Asian Americans is “entirely unsupported by evidence in the record or empirical data.” Ms. Fung continued, “UT’s individualized review of applicants will continue to benefit Asian Americans and avoid harmful stereotypes based on the ‘model minority’ myth.”

Contrary to popular and damaging beliefs that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are universally successful in academics and enjoy easy access to universities, many AAPIs, including Southeast Asian, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders, face serious barriers to higher education. Race-conscious admissions programs open the doors of higher education and continue to benefit many AAPI students today. No evidence in the record from Fisher supports the erroneous claim that AAPIs are harmed by the university’s use of holistic admissions. In fact, the opposite is true.

“We are pleased that the U.S. Supreme Court acknowledges the continued need for affirmative action policies that make it possible for students of all backgrounds, including many historically disadvantaged Asian American and Pacific Islanders, to access higher education and create a stronger country through their contributions to a diverse society,” said Mee Moua, President and Executive Director of Advancing Justice-AAJC.

Today’s ruling is a victory for all Americans. Affirmative action policies have been used as an effective tool to promote equality, ensure qualified students from all backgrounds get a fair chance at higher education, and acknowledge that race is relevant context in considering an individual’s application. With today’s decision, the most vulnerable AAPI students, along with other students of color, will continue to have equal opportunity to enter the institutions that shape tomorrow’s leaders, and we continue to affirm that race, as distinct from class, matters.

“In a world where people of color are killed at alarmingly disproportionate rates, students of color are taking much needed action to improve the racial climate on school campuses, and public discourse about race has rightfully taken center stage on a national level, we need race conscious policies now more than ever,” says Stewart Kwoh, President and Executive Director of Advancing Justice-LA.


Asian Americans Advancing Justice is a national affiliation of five leading organizations advocating for the civil and human rights of Asian Americans and other underserved communities to promote a fair and equitable society for all. The affiliation’s members are: Advancing Justice-AAJC (Washington, D.C.), Advancing Justice-Atlanta, Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus (San Francisco), Advancing Justice-Chicago, and Advancing Justice-Los Angeles.

The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), founded in 1974, is a national organization that protects and promotes the civil rights of Asian Americans. By combining litigation, advocacy, education, and organizing, AALDEF works with Asian American communities across the country to secure human rights for all.

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 over 50,000 attorneys and over 75 national, state, and local 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 engages in legislative and policy advocacy, promotes Asian Pacific American political leadership and political appointments, and builds coalitions within the legal profession and the community at large. NAPABA also serves as a resource for government agencies, members of Congress, and public service organizations about Asian Pacific Americans in the legal profession, civil rights, and diversity in the courts.

National Council of Asian Pacific Americans Calls on Supreme Court to Uphold Affirmative Action

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments today in Fisher v. University of Texas, which is a challenge to the University of Texas at Austin’s affirmative action policies, and the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) urges the Supreme Court to uphold this program.

This morning, Asian American leaders Christopher Kang, national director of NCAPA, and Eugene Chay, senior staff attorney at Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC, spoke at a National Action Network rally on the steps of the Supreme Court in support of affirmative action.

“The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans stands side by side with other communities of color in support of affirmative action in higher education, and we urge the Supreme Court to uphold such policies, which benefit all Americans,” said NCAPA National Director Christopher Kang. “Diversity makes our nation stronger–from education and the workplace to the boardroom and the Supreme Court itself–and we will not be used as a wedge against equal opportunities and access in higher education.”

“Asian Americans are overwhelmingly in favor of affirmative action – by a count of 69% according to a survey we co-authored in 2014,” said Eugene F. Chay, senior staff attorney at Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC. “The goal of achieving diversity in education is one that benefits all Americans and is still a goal worthy of striving for. Asian Americans are often held up as an example of a group that is adversely affected by race-conscious admissions policies, but this is simply misinformation and an attempt to hold up AAPIs as a wedge group.”

“The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association strongly urges the Supreme Court to uphold the long-standing precedent that diversity is a compelling interest in college admission policies, and to uphold the University of Texas-Austin’s admissions plan,” said NAPABA President Jin Y. Hwang. “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.”

Last month, NCAPA joined Asian Americans Advancing Justice in its Supreme Court amicus brief supporting affirmative action in higher education admission policies. Sixteen NCAPA members, led by Asian Americans Advancing Justice AAJC and the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, were among the more than 160 Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander organizations that joined briefs in this important case. 69 percent of Asian Americans approve of race-conscious admissions policies.

Based in Washington, D.C., the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans is a coalition of 35 national Asian Pacific American organizations that serves to represent the interests of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities and to provide a national voice for our communities’ concerns. Our communities are the fastest growing racial/ethnic group in the United States, currently making up approximately six percent of the population.

Asian Americans Advancing Justice Reaffirms Support for Race-Conscious Admissions As Supreme Court Revisits Affirmative Action

Asian Americans will not be used as a racial wedge to disenfranchise, and divide students of color

As the U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments today in Fisher v. Texas for a second time, Asian Americans Advancing Justice (Advancing Justice) stands firm in supporting equal opportunity and affirmative action in higher education.

“Opponents of affirmative action continue to use Asian American students as a racial wedge by peddling the myth that affirmative action hurts Asian American students by placing quotas on their admissions into elite colleges in favor of African American and Latino students. This is an absolute lie,” says Nicole Ochi, supervising attorney at Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles. “Quotas, in fact, have been unconstitutional for decades and Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) students have historically benefitted, and continue to benefit from affirmative action policies.”

Contrary to the ‘model minority’ myth, Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) students need race-conscious admissions programs. In California, for example, the admit rates of Filipino, Thai, Laotian, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander students into the University of California (UC) system are significantly lower than the general admit rate.

Additionally, relative to their overall population, Filipinos, Native Hawaiians, Samoans, Guamanians/Chamorros, and Fijians are underrepresented in the UC system. This intraracial disparity is not unlike those affecting the AAPI community in Texas. The increased racial diversity and improved racial climate produced by race-conscious admission programs benefit all AAPI students, including those who do not benefit directly from affirmative action programs.

Affirmative action in higher education consists of race-conscious holistic admissions policies. As one of several factors in a holistic review of an individual’s college application including leadership and potential, affirmative action takes into account whether an applicant has overcome racial and ethnic adversity. It also considers whether an applicant has endured poverty or is the first in their family to attend college.

Any holistic admissions policy without the consideration of race does not create a race-neutral admissions program. Test scores, for instance, are not an accurate nor race-neutral measure of merit. In UT-Austin’s holistic review program, where test scores play a dominant role in the admissions process, it is even more crucial to consider race because these tests disproportionately limit access to educational opportunities for minority students.

According to a recent study, race is the single most important factor in a student’s SAT scores, even more determinative than socioeconomic status and parental education levels.

“Race still matters in American life and all students benefit from a racially and ethnically diverse learning environment, including increased cross-racial understanding, reduction of stereotyping and isolation of minority students, and training for a diverse workforce and society,” said Ochi.

For additional comments, the following experts from Advancing Justice can be reached at:

Laboni Hoq, Litigation Director
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles
lhoq@advancingjustice-la.org

Nicole Gon Ochi, Supervising Attorney
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles
nochi@advancingjustice-la.org

Betty Hung, Policy Director
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles
bhung@advancingjustice-la.org

Christopher Punongbayan, Executive Director
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus
chrisp@advancingjustice-alc.org

Aarti Kohli, Deputy Director
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus
aartik@advancingjustice-alc.org

Mee Moua, President and executive director
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC
comrequests@advancingjustice-aajc.org

Asian Americans Advancing Justice is a national affiliation of five leading organizations advocating for the civil and human rights of Asian Americans and other underserved communities to promote a fair and equitable society for all. The affiliation’s members are: Advancing Justice – AAJC (Washington, D.C.), Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus (San Francisco), Advancing Justice – Atlanta, Advancing Justice – Chicago, and Advancing Justice – Los Angeles.

160+ AAPI Groups File Legal Briefs with U.S. Supreme Court in Support of Affirmative Action

Asian Americans Advancing Justice (Advancing Justice), the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), and the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), have filed three separate amicus briefs urging the nation’s highest court to uphold University of Texas at Austin’s (UT-Austin) affirmative action policy.

Together, the briefs represent over 160 organizations in support of equal opportunity and affirmative action in higher education, representing the tremendous diversity within Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities, including Arab, Filipino, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander organizations. In addition, the briefs represent 53 individuals, including higher education faculty and officials.

FAQs on AAPIs and the Fisher case

“With long histories of serving the most vulnerable members of our community, these organizations range from large, pan-Asian national organizations and professional associations, to student and grassroots groups,” says Laboni Hoq, litigation director at Advancing Justice – Los Angeles. “Such broad support for race conscious admissions policies sends a clear message that AAPIs overwhelmingly support these policies and will not be used as a racial wedge to disenfranchise other communities of color.”

The amicus brief filed by Advancing Justice argues that an applicant cannot be evaluated holistically without the consideration of race. In UT-Austin’s holistic review program, where test scores play a dominant role in the admissions process, it is even more crucial to consider race because these tests disproportionately limit access to educational opportunities for minority students.

The brief also shows how race conscious admissions programs opened the doors of higher education for AAPI students after a century of discrimination and exclusion and continue to benefit many AAPI students who face significant educational barriers today.

A closer look at disaggregated data reveals large disparities in educational attainment among Asian American ethnic groups. Based on U.S. Census Bureau data, the educational attainment of Hmong, Cambodian, Laotian, and Vietnamese Americans is the lowest among Asian American ethnic groups and similar to those of Latinos and African Americans. Only 61 percent of Hmong Americans hold a high school diploma, while only 12 percent of Laotian Americans have graduated from college.

“Supporters of Fisher have mischaracterized UT-Austin’s race-conscious admissions policy. It can benefit Asian Americans through an individualized review of applicants that avoids harmful stereotypes based on the ‘model minority’ myth,” says AALDEF Executive Director Margaret Fung.

As summarized in AALDEF’s amicus brief: “Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders–a unique cross-section of identities and experiences that spans a range of comparative privilege and disadvantage–benefit from this individualized approach to admissions, as do African Americans, Latinos, and Whites.” The AALDEF amicus brief also distinguishes between the two distinct concepts of negative action and affirmative action, noting there is no evidence in the record of discrimination by UT-Austin.

“We recognize that Asian Pacific Americans, like other groups, have endured cases of discrimination and lack of opportunities which continue to impact us today. The low numbers of minority groups in the legal profession, government, and corporate leadership underscore the need to remove barriers to higher education and increase diversity,” says George C. Chen, president of NAPABA.

“Courtrooms, law firms, and law schools must be filled with people of different backgrounds so that we can better understand and respect the diversity of the American public.”

In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed that universities may consider race as part of a holistic review process to increase racial diversity on campus. When instructed to look more carefully at whether UT-Austin tried other methods of achieving greater racial diversity before considering race, the 5th Circuit determined that UT-Austin’s efforts to increase racial diversity through race-neutral means (e.g. “Top Ten Percent” Plan) did not result in the qualitative diversity that it sought, and therefore, upheld the University’s use of race as a factor in its holistic admissions policy.

Fisher appealed this decision forcing a second hearing of the case by the U.S. Supreme Court in December.

The Asian American Advancing Justice (Advancing Justice) amicus brief represents 141 Asian American organizations, student groups, and bar associations, as well as, 9 members of academia. Caldwell Leslie & Proctor, PC served as pro-bono co-counsel. For a copy, visit www.advancingjustice-la.org.

The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) amicus brief represents 21 Asian American education and youth-serving groups, including the Asian/Asian American Faculty and Staff Association and the Asian Desi Pacific Islander American Collective at UT-Austin, and 44 higher education faculty and officials. Foley Hoag LLP served as pro-bono co-counsel. For a copy, visit http://aaldef.org.

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) amicus brief, filed by the Coalition of Bar Associations of Color (CBAC), consisting of NAPABA, the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA), the National Bar Association (NBA), and the National Native American Bar Association (NNABA), highlights the importance of race conscious admissions policies in order to preserve a diverse pipeline of individuals into the legal profession. For a copy, visit, www.napaba.org.


Asian Americans Advancing Justice (Advancing Justice) is a national affiliation of five leading organizations advocating for the civil and human rights of Asian Americans and other underserved communities to promote a fair and equitable society for all. The affiliation’s members are: Advancing Justice – AAJC (Washington, D.C.), Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus (San Francisco), Advancing Justice – Atlanta, Advancing Justice – Chicago, and Advancing Justice – Los Angeles.

The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), founded in 1974, is a national organization that protects and promotes the civil rights of Asian Americans. By combining litigation, advocacy, education, and organizing, AALDEF works with Asian American communities across the country to secure human rights for all.

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. 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.