Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Con Law issues in Education (and Clerkships)

My co-blogger wrote about the recent decision on Women's Studies at Columbia University.  There are other stories involving education - particularly legal education - that may have Con Law implications.  (Or, are simply interesting to anyone interested in Con Law.)

First, Above the Law reports a story out of Cardozo Law School that raises some gender equity issues.  A female student at the school has alleged that the process for electing the journal's editorial board is biased, as the journal's board is comprised entirely of males, despite a nearly equal number  - and seemingly equally qualified group - of female candidates.

Second, a Jewish student group is petitioning the Department of Justice to intervene on its behalf in a high school moot court competition.  The students are protesting the fact that the competitition as scheduled will force them to compete on the Sabbath.  Other than the obvious First Amendment issue, the students are alleging discrimination.  Moreover, there is an issue as to whether the competition is put on with public funds.  (Like many moot court events, its final rounds are held in a public courthouse). 

Finally, and loosely tied to education, is the issue of racial diversity in the ranks of Supreme Court law clerks.  Justices Thomas and Breyer addressed the issue while presenting the Court's budget before Congress.  When pressed on the issue, both Justices noted progress, but for different reasons.  Justice Thomas said that he had difficulty find qualified candidates - especially "Blacks and Hispanics" - while Justice Breyer said, "I don’t have to make an outreach to get the good [minority] candidates."  At the end, both justices agreed, ""This is not an area where the Court is resistant to change. ... Your questions have not fallen on deaf ears."


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