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CBC Chair responds to Sixth Circuit Court Decision Approving Michigan Law School Affirmative Action Program

May 15, 2002

Washington, DC--U.S. Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, issued the following statement regarding the appeals court ruling on the University of Michigan Law School admission policy:

"I am very pleased that the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a ruling by a federal judge in Detroit, and ruled that the University of Michigan Law School's admissions policy is legal.

Considering race and ethnicity as one of many factors in its admissions process, the School supports the notion that diversity improves education of all students. The lack of diversity is evident in the legal profession and confirms the continued need for affirmative action in law school admissions.

It is only fair to say that if the need for affirmative action were 'outdated' there would be equal representation of racial minorities and women in the profession of law. Unfortunately, such diversity and inclusion has yet to be achieved. So, I applaud the University of Michigan Law School for leading the way in ensuring 'equal representation of the law'."

According to a recent report by the American Bar Association, less than 4 percent of lawyers in America are African-American, and only 3 percent are of Hispanic descent. Just under 3 percent of law firm partners nation-wide are racial minorities. However, over 90 percent of America's lawyers are Caucasian. Women constitute only 23 percent of the bar, but only 19 percent of tenured law school faculty, 13 percent of law firm partners, 12 percent of judges, and 8 percent of law school deans. As of 1997, only 6 percent of federal judges, including district court judges and appellate judges, are African-American. Only 3.4 percent are of Hispanic descent, and 0.6 percent are Asian-American.

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