FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 5, 2023.
The Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey (HBA-NJ) denounces the decision by the United States Supreme Court to strike down affirmative action programs at public and private colleges throughout the country. This decision is deeply concerning and represents a major setback in efforts to remedy the nation’s long history of discrimination against racial and ethnic minorities. The Court’s decision ultimately rejected and ignored 45-years of precedent and the notion that colleges have a sufficiently compelling interest in creating a racially diverse student body.
The Court’s majority states that the interests articulated by the colleges, such as training future leaders, acquiring new knowledge based on diverse outlooks, promoting a robust marketplace of ideas, and preparing engaged and productive citizens, are vague and not sufficiently coherent concepts to justify an affirmative action program.The HBA-NJ firmly believes that these interests are clear, legitimate, and vital justifications for affirmative action programs. The HBA-NJ also believes that the removal of affirmative action programs threatens the diversity of our law schools and adversely impacts representation in the legal community. We urge colleges, as well as state and local governments across the nation, to take proactive measures to promote diversity in education. This decision will undoubtedly have a detrimental impact on underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities, further limiting their access to higher education and the career opportunities that follow.
The Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey pledges to monitor the impact of this decision and to continue to support diversity, equity and inclusion policies in higher education and the legal profession. Together, we must strive for a society that recognizes and embraces the value of diversity.
Albertina Webb, President of the HBA-NJ, said, “The HBA-NJ will not stop fighting for equity and equality in the legal field. We will continue to support and promote institutions and individuals who fight with us in the quest for promoting and increasing diversity in the legal field. As Justice Sotomayor correctly stated, “[i]gnoring race will not equalize a society that is racially unequal. What was true in the 1860s, and again in 1954, is true today: Equality requires acknowledgment of inequality.”