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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 13, 2012

HNBA Contact: Antonio 'Tony' Arocho (202) 223-4777
NAPABA Contact: Emily Chatterjee (202) 775-9555
NBA Contact: Steven Jumper (202) 842-3900
NNABA Contact: Jeremy Aliason (405) 761-1723

Coalition of Bar Associations of Color United in Support
of the Use of Diversity in Admission Programs in Higher Education
Files Joint Brief at U.S. Supreme Court in Fisher v. University of Texas

WASHINGTON - The Coalition of Bar Associations of Color (CBAC)-the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA), the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), the National Bar Association (NBA) and the National Native American Bar Association (NNABA) - today filed a joint amicus curiae brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin. The Court will review the constitutionality of the race conscious admissions program used to admit the freshman class at the University of Texas at Austin. With oral arguments scheduled for October 10th, the four organizations recognized the significance of all four communities of color standing together in support of race-conscious admission policies in order to promote diversity in the legal profession. The brief discusses the unique perspectives of the communities each bar association represents, and highlights the importance of ensuring access to institutions of higher education, in order to preserve a diverse pipeline for our multicultural society and ultimately advance CBAC's shared commitment to diversity in the legal profession. The brief can be found here.

"The National Bar Association is proud to stand with our CBAC partners in making yet again the strong argument, that now is not the time to turn back the clock or efforts on diversity in the U.S.," NBA President John Page said. "Over the past decade, we have taken significant strides forward but we know that our collective work to achieve a diverse and inclusive society is far from over. The Court as before should uphold the applaudable and critical efforts of any and all institutions of higher education in their continuing mission to reflect society and its diversity within their environment and not jeopardize the progress made and sought by law schools and the legal community to simply reflect the rich diversity that makes this nation great."

"The Hispanic National Bar Association believes that there is a compelling governmental interest in achieving diversity in higher education and supports upholding the use of race-conscious admissions programs in education," said HNBA National President Benny Agosto. "For that reason we join our partner bar associations of color in the Coalition of Bar Associations of Color in filing a joint brief in the Fisher vs. University of Texas case," added Mr. Agosto.

"The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association recognizes that like other groups, Asian Pacific Americans have endured a long history of racial discrimination and continue to face barriers to equal opportunity," said Nimesh M. Patel, president of NAPABA. "Asian Pacific Americans, along with all other students at the University of Texas, reap the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body. Further, the low representation of Asian Pacific Americans in prominent positions in government, elected offices, boards of directors and executive positions in large corporations, and in the legal profession underscores the importance of both access to higher education and the exchange of ideas, perspectives, and experiences that is fostered by a diverse learning environment."

"The National Native American Bar Association believes that the pipelines for students of color to higher education and beyond cannot be removed now," shared NNABA President Patty Ferguson-Bohnee. "Race conscious admissions programs not only open doors for students of color they also ensure a richer and intellectually diverse classroom experience for all students."

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CBAC was established in 1992 and is comprised of the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA), the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), the National Bar Association (NBA), and the National Native American Bar Association (NNABA).

The Hispanic National Bar Association is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, national professional association that represents the interests of over 100,000 attorneys, judges, law professors, legal assistants, and law students of Hispanic descent in the United States, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands. The Hispanic National Bar Association has thirty eight affiliated bars in various states across the country. The Hispanic National Bar Association's continuing mission is to improve the study, practice, and administration of justice for all Americans by
ensuring the meaningful participation of Hispanics in the legal profession.

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the national association of Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law professors and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of over 40,000 attorneys and 64 local Asian Pacific American bar associations. Its members represent solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal service and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of government. NAPABA continues to be a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities. Through its national network of committees and affiliates, NAPABA provides a strong voice for increased diversity of federal and state judiciaries, advocates for equal opportunity in the workplace, works to eliminate hate crimes and anti-immigrant sentiment, and promotes professional development of minorities in the legal profession.

Founded in 1925, the National Bar Association is the nation's oldest and largest national network of minority attorneys and judges. It represents approximately 44,000 lawyers, judges, law professors and law students and has over 80 affiliate chapters throughout the United States and around the world. The organization seeks to advance the science of jurisprudence, preserve the independence of the judiciary and to uphold the honor and integrity of the legal profession.

The National Native American Bar Association is the oldest and largest association of predominantly Native-American attorneys in the United States. The National Native American Bar Association was founded in 1973 when the first group of Native-American attorneys was entering the legal profession. The National Native American Bar Association's core mission since its inception has been to promote the development of Native-American attorneys. Native Americans comprise one of the smallest groups of attorneys of color in the nation, totaling approximately 2,500. The National Native American Bar Association is committed to increasing the number of Native-American students who attend college and continue their education to attend law school. The National Native American Bar Association and its chapters are involved in pipeline initiatives to promote the recruitment and retention of Native-American law students and law faculty. And an initiative of the National Native American Bar Association is to increase the appointment of Native Americans to the state and federal judiciaries; there are currently no Native-American Article III judges.


 

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