Center for Equal Opportunity Continues Its Battle to End Race-Sensitive Admissions at the Nation’s Law Schools

The Center for Equal Opportunity, the right-wing political advocacy organization headed by Linda Chavez, has published three reports alleging that state-operated law schools in Arizona and Nebraska are practicing race-sensitive admissions policies that go way beyond the guidelines set forth in the 2003 Grutter Supreme Court ruling.

The reports state that black students admitted to the law schools at Arizona State University, the University of Arizona, and the University of Nebraska have, on average, lower scores on the Law School Admission Test and lower undergraduate grade point averages than white students admitted to these law schools.

It was no coincidence that Chavez chose Arizona and Nebraska. Public referenda seeking to outlaw racial preferences in higher education admissions were scheduled to appear on the ballot on Election Day in each state. The Arizona initiative was excluded from the ballot when it was determined that not enough valid signatures had been submitted. In publishing reports on Arizona and Nebraska just weeks before Election Day, Chavez was making a clear effort to galvanize opposition to race-sensitive admissions programs in these states.

In some cases the evidence presented by the Center for Equal Opportunity will appear convincing to voters in these predominantly white states. For example, Chavez notes that at the University of Arizona law school every black applicant who had an LSAT score and grade point average above the median for black students was admitted to the law school. But there were 764 white students who had LSAT scores and grade point averages above the black median who were rejected for admission.

Chavez fails to point out that the number of black students involved is extremely small and that whites continue to win almost all places at these law schools. The latest data from the American Bar Association shows that blacks are 3.5 percent of the student body at the law school at Arizona State University and 2.6 percent of students at the University of Arizona School of Law. There are only 12 black students at the University of Nebraska School of Law. They make up 3 percent of the student body.