A conservative legal group has filed a federal lawsuit against New York University (NYU), claiming that the NYU School of Law’s student selection process for its flagship academic publication, NYU Law Review, gives preference to women and minorities in violation of U.S. law. The lawsuit, brought forth by America First Legal, an organization led by former Donald Trump adviser Stephen Miller, alleges that these selection policies run afoul of federal anti-discrimination regulations governing universities and colleges.
The plaintiff, identified as John Doe, is a white, heterosexual male first-year NYU law student who plans to apply for a position on the law review in the summer of 2024. Law review posts are highly prestigious and can significantly influence a law student’s career prospects.
While NYU declined to comment on the lawsuit, this marks the second legal challenge against NYU Law Review’s diversity policies in recent years. A previous attempt by a conservative group led by Jonathan Mitchell in 2018 was unsuccessful, targeting both NYU Law Review and the Harvard Law Review.
However, Thursday’s lawsuit takes on added significance following a U.S. Supreme Court decision in June that prohibited race-conscious college and university admissions. Mitchell, listed as plaintiffs’ counsel alongside Gene Hamilton of America First Legal, argues that the NYU Law Review continues to prioritize diversity in its member and editor selection process, which the lawsuit alleges is unlawful and discriminatory.
Notably, a Manhattan federal judge dismissed Mitchell’s previous suit against the NYU Law Review in March 2020, a decision upheld by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in August 2021. The court found that Mitchell’s group, Faculty, Alumni, and Students Opposed to Racial Preferences, lacked standing.
Despite modifications to the new member selection process, the latest lawsuit contends that NYU Law Review still places significant emphasis on diversity in its selection process, citing the law review’s website, which highlights diversity as a “prime consideration.” The lawsuit asserts that statements of interest from candidates are being utilized to favor diverse students.
In July, America First Legal sent warning letters to 200 law schools, cautioning of potential legal action against institutions that give preferences to minorities and women in their admissions processes.