Berkeley, Cornell professors criticize ABA for anti-bias training mandate proposal

Multiple law professors submitted public comments in response to the ABA's suggested requirement.

One professor noted that the new mandates are 'based on pseudo-science on race relations which has no valid backing.'

Law professors slammed the American Bar Association for suggesting that law schools be subjugated to an anti-bias training mandate.

Last month, Campus Reform reported that the American Bar Association suggested modifying one of its regulations for universities to include “a new section requiring law schools to provide training and education on bias, cross-cultural competency, and racism.” Such initiatives would occur “at the start of the program of legal education” and “at least once again before graduation.”

[RELATED: American Bar Association considers anti-bias training mandate for law schools]

Public comments for the policy reveal that many professors by no means agree with the requirement.

University of California, Berkeley Law School professor Steven Solomon commented that the new policies “constitute unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination” and are “based upon invalid social science which has not been established.” More specifically, they are “based on pseudo-science on race relations which has no valid backing.”

Cornell University Law School professor William Jacobson, who runs the blog Legal Insurrection, noted that the term “equity” — added to one of its policies “without definition” — is a “relatively recent buzzword associated with various Critical Race Theory offshoots, particularly that espoused by Prof. Ibram X. Kendi.”

“It is hotly contested whether equality of results, rather than equality of opportunity, is an appropriate goal, particularly where discrimination is used to achieve equal results,” wrote Jacobson. “Regardless, by injecting ‘equity’ as a concept into accreditation process, the ABA uses its accreditation power to make what will be understood to be an ideological point and will take ‘equity’ off the table for debate. That is not the role of ABA accreditation, and it is an abuse of power.”

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Meanwhile, a group of deans from prominent law schools — including the University of Oregon, Penn State, Rutgers, and Boston University — wrote to “wholeheartedly endorse” the changes proposed by the American Bar Association. 

”The American Bar Association, the legal academy, and the legal profession are the gatekeepers of democracy. For democracy to work, we must engage actively in equality work, especially recognizing the disproportionate disadvantage burdening individuals who have been marginalized through ascriptive discrimination, which is cumulative when these individuals have intersecting identities,” the professors wrote.                    

Campus Reform reached out to the American Bar Association for comment; this article will be updated accordingly.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BenZeisloft