The NYU campus in New York on Dec. 16, 2021.

Conservative group sues NYU, claiming law journal student staffing discriminates against straight, white applicants

A conservative legal group sued New York University on Thursday in federal court, claiming NYU School of Law’s process in selecting students to work on its flagship academic publication gives preference to women and minorities in violation of U.S. law.

The lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court by America First Legal—an organization headed by former Donald Trump adviser Stephen Miller—claims that NYU Law Review’s selection policies for student editors and other staffers violate federal law that prohibits discrimination at universities and colleges.

The plaintiff, listed as John Doe, is a white, heterosexual male first-year NYU law student who intends to apply for a spot on the law review in the summer of 2024, according to the complaint. Law review posts are prestigious positions that can help law students land jobs.

An NYU spokesman declined to comment on Thursday about the lawsuit.

The lawsuit marks the second time the NYU Law Review has been the target of litigation over its diversity policies in recent years. A different group run by conservative lawyer Jonathan Mitchell unsuccessfully sued it and the Harvard Law Review in 2018.

But Thursday’s lawsuit is the first legal challenge to law review diversity policies following the U.S. Supreme Court’s June decision that prohibited race-conscious college and university admissions.

Mitchell is listed as plaintiffs’ counsel alongside Gene Hamilton of America First Legal in the new NYU lawsuit.

“The NYU Law Review continues to give unlawful and discriminatory preferences to women, non-Asian racial minorities, and homosexual and transgender individuals when selecting its members and editors,” reads the compliant.

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A Manhattan federal judge dismissed Mitchell’s previous suit against the NYU Law Review in March 2020 — a decision the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed in August 2021, finding that his group called Faculty, Alumni, and Students Opposed to Racial Preferences lacked standing.

The latest lawsuit says that although the NYU Law Review modified its new member selection process following the Supreme Court’s affirmative action prohibition, the law review’s website makes clear that diversity remains a “prime consideration” in the selection process and that statements of interest from candidates are being used to give preference to diverse students.

America First Legal in July sent a letter to 200 law schools, warning that it would sue institutions that give preferences to minorities and women in admissions.

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