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New Plaintiff Joins Harvard Law Review Lawsuit, Along With Expanded Charges

Gannett House
Gannett House is home to the Harvard Law Review.

An amended complaint filed Monday in the lawsuit against the Harvard Law Review, Harvard Law School, and Harvard adds an additional plaintiff to the case, along with new charges alleging the Law School illegally uses affirmative action policies in its faculty hiring process.

The new complaint marks the latest development in the ongoing lawsuit alleging the Law Review discriminates in its editor selection process. The University and the Law Review filed separate motions to dismiss the case in late December.

The original plaintiff — Faculty, Alumni, and Students Opposed to Racial Preferences, a Texas-based anti-affirmative action group — filed the initial complaint in October with the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts. The complaint alleges that the Law Review’s selection process violates Title VI and Title IX, two federal anti-discrimination laws, in its use of “race and sex preferences,” and that the Law Review gives preference to articles written by “women or racial minorities.”

The amended complaint levels new charges against Harvard Law School, arguing that the school illegally uses affirmative action policies in its process for hiring faculty, which it claims also violates Title VI and Title IX.

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“Harvard Law School, along with nearly every law school in the United States, discriminates on account of race and sex when hiring its faculty, by discriminating in favor of female or minority faculty candidates and against white men,” the amended complaint reads.

Harvard spokesperson Melodie L. Jackson declined to comment on the new allegations.

FASORP will now be joined by the Coalition for Meritocracy at Universities in its suit, another Texas-based non-profit membership association, according to Monday’s amended complaint.

Shared legal counsel for FASORP and CMU did not respond to a request for comment regarding the change in plaintiffs.

When the Law Review and University filed separate motions to dismiss the suit in December, they claimed FASORP had no standing to bring the suit because the group did not identify a member of the organization who had been directly affected by the Law Review’s policies.

The amended complaint now claims the plaintiffs have standing in both the original and new allegations because they count current Law School students and affiliated faculty among their membership.

“At least one member of FASORP, and at least one member of CMU, are current students at Harvard Law School who intend to apply for membership on the Harvard’s Law Review,” the amended complaint states.

“At least one member of FASORP, and at least one member of CMU, have sought and applied for entry-level or lateral teaching positions at Harvard Law School…or remain potential candidates for visiting professorships and lateral faculty appointments without any need to formally apply,” the amended complaint also states.

Counsel for the plaintiffs did not respond to a request to identify their members who are affiliated with Harvard Law School and the Law Review.

Harvard also argued in December that FASORP did not have grounds to sue them for Harvard Law Review’s actions because the group was independent of the school. In the amended filings, the plaintiffs argue that because the group is subject to the Law School’s student group policies, they are responsible for permitting the Law Review to conduct its selection in a manner the plaintiffs consider discriminatory.

“Harvard Law School and Harvard University are violating Title VI and Title IX by allowing the Harvard Law Review to use race and sex preferences when selecting its members, editors, and articles—in direct contravention of the Law School’s supposed non-discrimination policy that purports to govern all student organizations,” the new filings read.

Michael L. Thomas, president of the Harvard Law Review, did not respond to a request for comment.

—Staff writer Connor W. K. Brown can be reached at connor.brown@thecrimson.com.

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