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Statement of the Asian Pacific Law Students Association
to the University of Michigan Law School Community


June 24, 2003

The Asian Pacific American Law Student Association would like to thank and congratulate Dean Jeffrey Lehman, Dean Designate Evan Caminker, the University of Michigan Faculty, the Black Law Student Association, and the Latino Law Students Association for their tremendous leadership in successfully spearheading a defense of affirmative action admissions policies. For the last seven years, APALSA has supported the Law School community in believing that Justice Lewis Powell's diversity rationale in Bakke was not only controlling but correct as a matter of fundamental policy. APALSA is thrilled and proud to see the Supreme Court's below recognition of diversity as a compelling interest.

"In order to cultivate a set of leaders with legitimacy in the eyes of the citizenry, it is necessary that the path to leadership be visibly open to talented and qualified individuals of every race and ethnicity. All members of our heterogeneous society must have confidence in the openness and integrity of the educational institutions that provide this training. As we have recognized, law schools 'cannot be effective in isolation from the individuals and institutions with which the law interacts.' See Sweatt v. Painter, supra, at 634. Access to legal education (and thus the legal profession) must be inclusive of talented and qualified individuals of every race and ethnicity, so that all members of our heterogeneous society may participate in the educational institutions that provide the training and education necessary to succeed in America." Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. at 20 (2003).

While APALSA shares Justice O'Connor's aspiration that in 25 years race-based admissions policies may no longer be necessary, we remind the Michigan law school community that "[i]t remains the current reality that many minority students encounter markedly inadequate and unequal educational opportunities." Id. at 3 [Ginsburg, J. concurring]. Therefore, "[f]rom today's vantage point, one may hope, but not firmly forecast, that over the next generation's span, progress toward nondiscrimination and genuinely equal opportunity will make it safe to sunset affirmative action." Id. at 3 [Ginsburg, J. concurring].

Finally, APALSA would like to recognize the tireless efforts of APALSA members Niketa Kulkarni [former APALSA President], Ann Chen [former APALSA President], Len Kamdang, Shams Mitha, Manu Bhardwaj, and Reena Gokani in helping to draft the amicus brief submitted by the basement groups.

Happy summer,

APALSA Exec Board

Henry Hwang, President
Reena Gokani, Vice-President
Manu Bhardwaj, Treasurer

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