ADVOCACY: FASHIONING NEW REMEDIES FOR INJUSTICE
March 21, 2007, at the University of California, Berkeley, Boalt
Hall School of Law, a team of emerging "Scholar-Advocates"
translated critical legal theory insights about law and (in)justice
into strategies for frontline advocacy. The panel in Berkeley
was the inaugural event of the Equal Justice Society's Scholar-Advocate
pilot program at the University of Hawai`i Law School, and was
sponsored by the Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice,
Boalt Hall School of Law. The panel was moderated by Professor
Eric Yamamoto, the lead educator for the innovative Hawai`i program,
and in Berkeley as the Henderson Center's Spring Scholar-in-Residence.
groups have over the last 20 years successfully fueled a retreat
from social justice by melding of theory, policy and frontline
legal and political action through well-funded and well-coordinated
think tanks, advocacy groups, law schools, and media. Progressive
scholars and organizations are now coordinating their work to
develop new advances in theory that can be translated into policy
initiatives and strategy for frontline lawyers and activists.
The Scholar-Advocate program aims to accelerate this process by
training law students and recent graduates as cutting-edge progressive
legal scholars who can contribute immediately to justice advocacy
on the ground.
panelists spoke about their training as developing Scholar-Advocates
in the context of their substantive work on fashioning new remedies
K. YAMAMOTO, Moderator
Professor of Law, University of Hawaii Law School;
Scholar in Residence Spring 2007,
Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice
K. SERRANO on Rethinking How Discrimination Actually Occurs
in the Real World
Director of Educational Development, Center for Excellence in
Hawaiian Law, University of Hawaii Law School;
former Research Director and co-founder of Equal Justice Society
KIM on Reparations at the Intersection of Gender and Race
Class of 2007, University of Hawaii Law School; former Patsy
Mink Congressional Justice Fellow; Equal Justice Society Scholar-Advocate
BAKER on Cultural Self-Determination for Native Hawaiians
Post-Juris Doctor Research Fellow, Center for Excellence in Native
by the Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice,
Scholar in Residence Program, Boalt Hall School of Law
Scholars Debunk Attack on Affirmative Action
February 22, 2006: Following last summer's articles in
the Stanford Law Review criticizing Richard Sander's "A Systemic
Analysis of Affirmative Action" study, the review gave Sanders
the last word in print with his "A Reply to Critics."
Lempert, Tim Clydesdale, David Chambers and Bill Kidder wrote
a working paper, which includes a point-by-point response (with
an executive summary) to Sander's reply. The authors argue that
Sander has elected to "stay on message" about the harms
of affirmative action "mismatch" despite mounting empirical
evidence to the contrary.
August 2005: EJS co-authored a rebuttal to Richard Sander's
new study in the Stanford Law Review, in which he argues that
affirmative action decreases the number of African American attorneys
nationwide. This critique was an invited submission to the Stanford
Law Review by David Chambers and Richard Lempert of the University
of Michigan Law School, EJS researcher William Kidder, and Tim
Clydesdale, sociologist at the College of New Jersey, and it demonstrates
that Sander's forecasts are untenable.
show that available data on law school admissions, law school
performance, and bar exam performance indicate that Sander's article
is premised upon a series of statistical errors, oversights, and
implausible assumptions. We conclude that if affirmative action
in law school admissions were eliminated tomorrow, there would
probably be a 30-40 percent decline in the numbers of African
Americans entering the legal profession, not the rosy 7.9 percent
improvement that Sander forecasts.
It, Dont End It: Affirmative Action and the Texas Ten Percent
Plan After Grutter and Gratz
August 2005: A new report documents the continuing lack of
racial and ethnic diversity at Texas A&M, the University of
Texas at Austin, and within Texas law and medical schools, despite
many energetic efforts to try race-neutral alternatives.
report, titled Blend It, Dont End It: Affirmative
Action and the Texas Ten Percent Plan After Grutter and Gratz,
is authored by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational
Fund (MALDEF), Americans for a Fair Chance (a project of the Leadership
Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund), the Equal Justice
Society, and the Society of American Law Teachers (SALT). The
authors of the report share an interest in aligning admissions
criteria to the state's goal of closing the racial and ethnic
gaps in higher education so as to ensure all Texans are prepared
to become qualified and active contributors to our economy.
Cokorinos shares with us an essay
on the recently revealed big money behind Ward Connerly's Prop
54 effort. Cokorinos says that the victory
in forcing Connerly's disclosure demonstrates that progressives
can win these kinds of legal battles to lift the veil on big right
wing money if they are willing to fight them. The settlement and
disclosures also provide hard evidence that the assault on racial
justice is not, as Connerly would have it, the product of some
groundswell of mass anger against equal opportunity measures in
major institutions, but of political action by a small group of
wealthy and powerful right wing corporate tycoons who are trying
to turn back the clock on civil rights. Cokorinos conducts political
research on right-wing movements and organizations and is the
author of The Assault on Diversity: An Organized Challenge
to Racial and Gender Justice (Rowman & Littlefield).
the frayed and sometimes broken relationships between racial and
ethnic groups is an imperative for the 21st Century. The history
of racism in American law and culture has left undeniable scars
on racial communities and on society’s moral fabric. Healing
deep wounds is integral to healthy present-day racial interactions.
and racism, however, are topics often difficult to discuss. How
do we develop the concepts and language we need to deal with historical
and ongoing discrimination and healing “in ways that build, rather
than destroy, relationships?"
component of racial healing is justice under law. Justice is
difficult to achieve when the law fails to reflect the actual
experiences and perceptions of communities who have seen and felt
discrimination. The constricted “intent doctrine” that permeates
antidiscrimination law, for example, ignores much of what we know
about the dynamics of discrimination and therefore deprives many
of redress for discrimination.
Amicus Brief Charges Unlimited Campaign Spending Limits Rights
of Communities of Color and the Poor
Equal Justice Society, along with the Greenlining Institute, NAACP,
Fannie Lou Hamer Project, National Bar Association, National Asian
Pacific American Legal Consortium, and Latino Issues Forum, filed
an amicus curiae brief in the United States Supreme Court
in City of Albuquerque v. Homans, a New Mexico case which
addresses the constitutionality of mandatory campaign spending
limits in city elections in Albuquerque.
amicus brief uses both legal and social science research
to illustrate that the lack of reasonable limits on campaign spending
has negatively impacted the civil rights of poor and minority
communities. It has deprived these communities of an effective
voice in our democracy. Our brief argues that limits on campaign
spending will help to ensure effective representation and equal
access to the political system and will help to open the doors
of government to groups often in most need—people of color
and the poor.
law firm of Howard, Rice, Nemerovski, Canady, Falk & Rabkin
in San Francisco drafted the brief on a pro bono basis. Martin
Glick, Amy Bomse, Clara Shin, Clayton Coon, Michael Gallo, D’Lonra
Ellis and John Carrillo contributed to the brief.
Life into Brown at Fifty: Lessons About Equal Justice'
article in Black Scholar
2, 2004) A article, "Breathing Life into Brown at Fifty:
Lessons About Equal Justice," co-authored by Eva Paterson, Lee
Cokorinos, Susan Kiyomi Serrano and William C. Kidder, was published
in a recent issue of THE BLACK SCHOLAR, the Journal of Black Studies
24, 2004) A new report - co-authored by the Equal Justice Society
- documents the continuing lack of racial and ethnic diversity
at Texas A&M, the University of Texas at Austin, and within
Texas law and medical schools, despite many energetic efforts
to try race-neutral alternatives.
report, titled "Blend It, Don't End It: Affirmative Action and
the Texas Ten Percent Plan After Grutter and Gratz," was also
authored by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational
Fund (MALDEF), Americans for a Fair Chance (a project of the Leadership
Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund) and the Society of
American Law Teachers (SALT). The authors of the report share
an interest in aligning admissions criteria to the state's goal
of closing the racial and ethnic gaps in higher education so as
to ensure all Texans are prepared to become qualified and energetic
contributors to our economy.
is a national coordinating organization that engages in strategic
research and education, long-term planning and action mobilization.
In doing so, EJS serves as a catalyst and facilitator for new
progressive legal strategies.
Collaboratively identifies specific laws and/or theories that
need to be transformed to serve the ends of social justice;
Helps to craft long-range strategic plans for transforming those
laws and/or theories;
Coordinates and facilitates development of cutting-edge legal
theories, social science studies, polling, and implementation
strategies generated by progressive think tanks, scholars and
law students; and
Coordinates and facilitates dissemination of the research, theories
and strategies for practical use by legal practitioners, advocacy
groups, courts, politicians and the media.
provides a forum for developing and translating progressive theories
by facilitating interactive workshops, holding conferences and
forums, working with media, and assisting in the dissemination
of articles and other scholarly work.
Presentations Available from 'Colorblind Racism: The Politics of Controlling Racial and Ethnic Data'
*** DVD NOW AVAILABLE ***
On Oct. 2-4, 2003, more than 300 attorneys, academics,
progressive activists and journalists attended "Colorblind Racism?
The Politics of Controlling Racial and Ethnic Data" in Palo Alto,
Calif. For more details, visit the conference
website. View some of the panelist
presentations below. (If you don't have PowerPoint, Microsoft
software to let you read the files):
coverage of the conference and related topics is now available
on the conference website.
To purchase a Colorblind
Racism Conference DVD (a 4-DVD set), please send a check for $25
payable to the Equal Justice Society to Allegra Churchill, Equal
Justice Society, 220 Sansome Street, 14th Floor, San Francisco,
CA 94104, or call Allegra at 415-288-8700 to pay by credit card.
Fred Korematsu asks U.S. Supreme Court to examine today's "war on terrorism"
detentions; Equal Justice Society assists Korematsu counsel
Geoffrey R. Stone, David A. Strauss and Stephen J. Schulhofer
saw a strong historic link between the current case challenging
the indefinite detention of Arab and Muslim prisoners at Guantanomo
and the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.
With the assistance of EJS board member Eric Yamamoto, EJS advisory
board member Dale Minami, and EJS staff, the attorneys were introduced
to Fred Korematsu who agreed to be represented by them in an amicus
brief before the U.S. Supreme Court. Yamamoto also helped shape
some of the amicus arguments and EJS' Elaine Elinson provided
media assistance to the attorneys. Read the Amerasia
Journal article by Yamamoto and EJS research director
Susan Serrano cited in the Korematsu
brief. Also read the Oct 3, 2003, press release.
Equal Justice Society joins faculty, civil rights and education groups
in blasting UC Regent's claims about Berkeley and the SAT
24, 2003) Social science evidence and admission data justify "comprehensive
review" at the University of California rather than heavy reliance
on the SAT, according to a report released by a broad coalition
of professors, civil rights organizations, and education groups.
UC Coalition Report was prompted by UC Regent Chair John Moores'
confidential report on Berkeley admissions, which was leaked to
the media, and sparked enormous controversy over the fairness
of the Berkeley admissions process. Moores claimed that students
with SATs below 1,000 "don't have any business going to Berkeley."
Kidder of the Equal Justice Society, one of the drafters of the
Report, stated, "I am saddened that the Chair of the UC Regents
would make such provocative statements about Berkeley students
being unqualified without a shred of evidence. Our UC Coalition
Report, supported by a dozen Berkeley faculty members, proves
that students with lower SATs are highly qualified and successful
Less Likely to be Admitted to Law Schools than Whites, 25-Year
Study Finds Worsening Trend
students applying to law schools nationwide in the last quarter-century,
African Americans were two-thirds as likely to be accepted as
white applicants, and Latino applicants were four-fifths as likely
to be admitted as whites, according to a recent study published
in the Harvard BlackLetter Law Journal.
and Grutter v. Bollinger (Michigan Law School admissions
and law professors from the Equal Justice Society filed an amici
curiae brief in the United States Supreme Court supporting the
admissions program at the University of Michigan Law School. The
brief was written on behalf of the Coalition for Economic Equity,
an association of minority businesses in California, the Santa
Clara University School of Law Center for Social Justice and Public
Service, the California Association of Black Lawyers, the Charles
Houston Bar Association and the Justice Collective. The brief
supports the admissions policies of the University of Michigan
Law School, which is under attack by white applicants who claim
that considering race as one factor among many in admissions decisions
other amicus briefs, the brief exposes how the petitioner’s
“pure colorblindness” arguments against Michigan’s
admissions policy fail in history, contemporary social context
and good conscience. It reveals that, rather than advancing equality,
the petitioner’s position perpetuates stark inequalities
and deepens social divisions. The brief counters the petitioner’s
arguments by showing that there is a difference between a governmental
policy that perpetuates existing group disadvantage on the basis
of race and one that address the adverse effects of long-standing
on new ideas generated by legal scholars, the brief offers an
innovative approach to the Court’s role in reviewing governmental
programs designed to remove historically-rooted group disadvantages
and promote genuine equality. This more flexible contemporary
approach focuses anti-discrimination law on the elimination of
contemporary forms of exclusion and thereby affords greater judicial
respect to those programs designed to achieve that purpose.
and Mukhtar v. California State University, Hayward
EJS coordinated the filing of an amicus curiae brief in August
2002 in support of a petition for rehearing/rehearing en banc
in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in Mukhtar v. California
State University, Hayward. In this case, the Ninth Circuit overturned
a Title VII jury verdict for an African professor denied tenure
by California State University. Despite an enormous record to
the contrary, the Ninth Circuit found that the district judge
abused its discretion in allowing testimony from a sociological
expert, supposedly without making adequate reliability findings
on the record. The expert testified as to how racism persists
without open bigotry and how such subtle racism played a part
in the tenure denial.
amicus brief pointed out that this kind of testimony has long
played a key role in civil rights cases (e.g., the expert testimony
in Brown v. Bd. of Ed.); highlighted the importance of sociological
testimony about the subtle, but nevertheless real, ways that discrimination
occurs in large institutions; and argued that the relief ordered,
an entirely new trial, was excessive. The Ninth Circuit directed
the defendants to file a response addressing the issues raised
in the amicus brief. Although the Court recently denied rehearing,
eleven Judges (out of the thirteen required) recommended rehearing