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NAPALC Applauds Appeals Court Ruling Upholding University of Michigan Law School's Affirmative Action Policy

May 14, 2002

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium (NAPALC) along with its Affiliates—the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC) and the Asian Law Caucus (ALC)—applaud the decision of the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that upholds the constitutionality of the use of affirmative action in admissions. The Court found that the University of Michigan Law School has a compelling state interest in promoting a diverse student body and that its program is narrowly tailored to serve that interest. NAPALC, its Affiliates and the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) filed an amicus curiae brief in support of the University of Michigan Law School case Grutter v. Bollinger.

The case involves a white applicant's challenge, under both the U.S. Constitution and a federal statute, to the Law School's admissions program. The Law School's admission program considers a number of factors, including race and diversity, in addition to test scores and grades to ensure that the Law School's student body provides the diversity of backgrounds and perspectives necessary for an enriched educational experience.

Karen K. Narasaki, President and Executive Director of NAPALC, said "The court's opinion affirms the commitment not only to diversity but to the inclusion of students from groups which have been historically discriminated against. Without affirmative action, these students might not be represented in the student body in meaningful numbers."

"All students, as well as faculty, benefit from affirmative action programs. Studies have shown that diversity leads to enhanced critical thinking and preparation to deal with an increasingly complex society," said Margaret Fung, AALDEF's Executive Director.

"The reality is that we live in an increasingly global environment that requires attorneys to be able to work with a wide diversity of individuals," said Stewart Kwoh, Executive Director of APALC. "Schools, therefore, have an obligation to their student body to promote an environment that will allow them to compete in the world economy."

"Affirmative action is not about quotas or preferences, it's about alleviating ongoing discrimination," Adrienne Pon said, Executive Director of ALC. "The Michigan decision upholds that diversity is as important as any admission criteria.

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The National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium (www.napalc.org) is a national civil rights organization dedicated to advancing and defending the civil rights of Asian Pacific Americans. The Asian Law Caucus (www.asianlawcausus.org) of San Francisco is the oldest Asian Pacific American legal group in the nation. The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (www.aaldef.org) is the first organization on the East Coast dedicated to promoting the legal rights of Asian Americans. The Asian Pacific American Legal Center (www.apalc.org) is the only organization in Southern California dedicated to providing the Asian Pacific American community with multilingual, culturally sensitive legal services and civic education.

CONTACT: Sharon Scanlon
202-296-2300



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