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American Alliance for Equal Rights, the organization behind the US Supreme Court case ending affirmative action in college admissions last June, filed lawsuits against two major law firms. The lawsuits target the firms’ programs offering fellowships to diverse candidates and seek to carry the Supreme Court’s ban on affirmative action into the private sector. Some believe that these cases are assured victories for anti-ESG as reporting in The Wall Street Journal states:

“Professor Vinay Harpalani of the University of New Mexico School of Law said he believed the case would prevail if it reached the Supreme Court. ‘The court is really hostile to any use of race, any use of racial classification,’ he said. ‘They basically said racial categories are just stereotyping so in that context, I would be worried if I was the corporations.’”

Such a decision would threaten DEI in the private sector and would eliminate some of the tools companies currently use to attract a diverse pool of candidates. Assuming the Supreme Court decides more cases along similar lines to their decision this summer, the article points out that there may be workarounds. Employers would be allowed to hire based on challenging conditions not necessarily tied to race but correlated with disadvantaged populations. This method may help companies attain similar results without running afoul of any ban imposed by the Supreme Court.

Tomorrow, Ngozi will have a blog about the Court’s holding in a different DEI case with a different conclusion.

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The Editor

Zachary Barlow is a licensed attorney. He earned his JD from the University of Mississippi and has a bachelor’s in Public Policy Leadership. He practiced law at a mid-size firm and handled a wide variety of cases. During this time he assisted in overseeing compliance of a public entity and litigated contract disputes, gaining experience both in and outside of the courtroom. Zachary currently assists the editorial team by providing research and creating content on a spectrum of ESG… View Profile