Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Lawsuit against Pritzker School of Law alleges its hiring process discriminates against white men

Daily file photo by Katie Pach
Pritzker School of Law. The lawsuit comes just over a year after the Supreme Court ended the use of affirmative action in the college admission process.

A conservative activist group filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the Pritzker School of Law alleging its hiring process discriminates against white men by giving preference to candidates of other gender identities and races. 

The lawsuit claims the law school hires women and racial minorities over white men who have “better credentials.” 

The group — Faculty, Alumni and Students Opposed to Racial Preferences — alleges in the lawsuit that the problem does not just exist at Northwestern, but that faculty hiring at universities in the U.S. is “a cesspool of corruption and lawlessness.”

The complaint states that over the last three years only three of the 21 job offers went to white men. The complaint also goes into detail about several faculty members, relying on what it claims as insider accounts about the hiring process and repeatedly uses language like “affirmative action hire.” 

The University is prepared to defend the law school and its hiring process, according to University spokesperson Jon Yates. 

“Northwestern Pritzker School of Law is among the top law schools in the country, and we are proud of their outstanding faculty. We intend to vigorously defend this case,” Yates said in a statement. 

The lawsuit names several white male candidates — including First Amendment scholar and former law professor at University of California Los Angeles Eugene Volokh and constitutional law professor at Duke University Ernest A. Young — who were rejected or blocked from advancement in the hiring process. It also mentions several minority and female faculty hired whom it claims do not have the same credentials as those white male candidates. 

The complaint repeatedly states that if those candidates were white men “they would not have been hired” and they were hired “because they were Black.” 

Neither Volokh, Young nor any other professor mentioned in the lawsuit played a role in the lawsuit or gave information to the group or its attorneys, according to footnote in the complaint. 

The group is a nonprofit membership organization “formed for the purpose of restoring meritocracy in academia,” according to its website and the lead lawyer for the group in the case is Jonathan F. Mitchell, a former Texas solicitor general who is now a conservative activist lawyer. He also defended former President Donald Trump in his case arguing for the right to appear on the Colorado presidential primary ballot this past year. 

Prof. of Law and Associate Dean of Research and Intellectual Life Paul Gowder was one of the faculty members mentioned in the complaint. Despite his extensive resume including a Harvard University law degree and winning a $100,000 grant for his third book, the lawsuit claimed he would not have been hired had he been white. 

Gowder, in an interview and who does not speak on behalf of the University, said the lawsuit is “laughable.” 

“This is a combination of two things,” Gowder said. “It’s external, motivated political hacks — it’s Donald Trump’s lawyers — running around trying to consolidate the victories since they got in the Students for Fair Admissions cases by furthering their attack on universities and their faculty of color and women.” 

This case comes just over a year after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the use of affirmative action in college admissions with the Students for Fair Admissions cases. Gowder said this is a continuation of fueling that political movement. 

“They come up with these weird fantasies about how accomplished faculty wouldn’t be there, apart from their race and that’s completely baseless.” 

According to Gowder, the group has also sent letters to several other faculty at universities to warn it will also pursue legal action against more universities if there is enough evidence. 

Email: [email protected]

X: @Shannonmtyler

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