Promoting Rights and Equality...

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"The Equal Protection of the Laws"

   The Asian American Legal Foundation (“AALF”), based in San Francisco, California, was founded to protect and promote the civil rights of Asian Americans.  Americans of Asian origin have a particular interest in promoting racial equality.  With a long history in this nation, they were for much of that history viewed as faceless members of a "yellow horde" and denied access to school, jobs and other opportunities—just because of their race. 

    Asian Americans have contributed significantly to this nation's jurisprudence establishing the "race neutral" treatment that Americans of all races and ethnicities today take for granted.  Many of the key federal court cases establishing that under the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution all Americans enjoy the "equal protection of the laws" were brought to vindicate the rights of Asian American.  We believe that it is a proud heritage.

    The battle is not over.  Despite the advances our society has made with respect to racial equality, discriminatory treatment of Asian Americans is again resurgent.  Today, though, instead of open hostility, the tools are "racial balancing" and "diversity" schemes at all levels of state and local government.  These programs, some of them well-intentioned, again view individuals as faceless members of a "group."  Again, individuals are denied access to education, jobs and opportunities solely because of their race or ethnicity.

     The Asian American Legal Foundation is at the forefront of the fight to vindicate the individual rights of all Americans.  It stands for the principle that individual rights are paramount, and that only the strict application of the Constitution's guarantee of equal protection will protect the right of Asian Americans and of all Americans to live in a open, pluralistic society, free of persecution.


  Decision expected soon in pivotal equal protection case

Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin

   The Asian American Legal Foundation has filed amicus curiae briefs in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, arguing that the Supreme Court should determine that the race-based admissions program used by the University of Texas at Austin is unconstitutional. This case, which has come before the Supreme Court for the second time, could decide the future of non-remedial affirmative action for our generation.

   In Fisher I, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal had essentially substituted a "good faith" standard for the hostile strict scrutiny that should be applied to a state institution's use of race, deferring to the "good faith" of the school officials in their determination that race-based admissions was necessary to promote a "critical mass" of minorities. On June 24, 2013, the Supreme Court issued its ruling, repudiating this "good faith" standard. It remanded the case to the lower courts to apply strict scrutiny to the admissions program at issue. "Strict scrutiny must not be strict in theory but feeble in fact," Justice Kennedy wrote for the Court. "The reviewing court must ultimately be satisfied that no workable race-neutral alternatives would produce the educational benefits of diversity."

   The second time around, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal once again upheld the school's use of race, pretending to apply strict scrutiny but once again deferring to the determinations made by the school officials. The Supreme Court once again granted certiorari. Predictably, the Obama administration and other proponents of race-based admissions supported the University of Texas.  The Asian American Legal Foundation submitted an amicus brief arguing that, not only was the University race-based admissions program unconstitutional, but that to prevent the confusion demonstrated by the case before it, the Court needed to return to the pre-Grutter bright-line rule reserving use of race for remedial settings. 

   Oral arguments were made before the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on September 9, 2015, A decision is expected before the end of the 2015-16 term.

Key Briefs and Decisions:

AALF Amicus Curiae Brief in Fisher I

Supreme Court Decision in Fisher I

AALF Amicus Curiae Brief in Fisher II

 

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