That's A Lot Of Briefs

Monday, August 13, 2012

Like I said...that's a lot.

WASHINGTON – The Asian American Center for Advancing Justice ("Advancing Justice")—the Asian American Institute ("AAI") in Chicago, the Asian American Justice Center ("AAJC") in Washington, the Asian Law Caucus ("ALC") in San Francisco, and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center ("APALC") in Los Angeles—and over 70 Asian American and Pacific Islander ("AAPI") organizations, will file an amicus curiae brief later today with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of race-conscious admissions in higher education. The organizations have long histories of representing the interests of a wide swath of AAPI communities on a diverse range of issues. In October, the Court will hear arguments in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin to determine whether the University of Texas-Austin's use of race as one of many factors in its consideration of 25 percent of its total admissions pool is constitutional.

"Allowing colleges to consider racial diversity as one of many factors in a small number of admissions will promote equal opportunity and ensure that qualified but socioeconomically disadvantaged students of color, including Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, have access to higher education and are not left behind," said Stewart Kwoh, executive director at APALC. "Flagship universities like UT Austin have a mission and obligation to train the leaders of tomorrow and promote and provide a diverse learning environment."

Equal opportunity in higher education was also before the Court in 2003. Ruling in two University of Michigan cases (Gratz v. Bollinger & Grutter v. Bollinger), the Court upheld as constitutional universities' consideration of race as one of many factors in order to achieve educational benefits only gained through a racially and socioeconomically diverse student body.

"We stand by the promise of integrated and equal public education set out in Brown v. Board of Education," said Hyeon-Ju Ro, executive director at ALC. "Race-conscious programs have desegregated our colleges and universities and are still needed to address racial inequalities in our education system today. We must combat the model minority stereotype and better understand the diversity of the Asian American community and the racial discrimination our communities suffer. We must not pit Asian Americans against other communities of color."

Advancing Justice's brief places the experience of Asian Americans and race-conscious admissions programs in context, describing how the programs have opened up higher education for AAPIs and other minorities and how AAPIs have benefited from race-conscious programs in employment, business, and government contracting.

"Voting and polling trends consistently show that a majority of Asian Americans support race-conscious admissions programs," said Mee Moua, executive director of AAJC. "Asian American voters in California, Michigan, Washington, and other states have opposed referenda to eliminate race-conscious programs, and national opinion polls consistently show that a majority of Asian Americans support race-conscious programs. The breadth of our coalition is proof of just how much Asian Americans recognize that policies that promote diversity and equal opportunity strengthen our society and benefit us all."

Advancing Justice supports UT Austin's admissions program and disputes that the program harms Asian Americans. The amicus brief demonstrates how all students, including Asian Americans, benefit from race-conscious admissions programs that increase campus diversity, promote cross-racial interaction and cultural understanding, and prepare all students to be effective leaders in our multi-cultural society. The brief also challenges the overemphasis on test scores in admissions in light of studies and data showing that test scores are an inaccurate and incomplete measure of merit and achievement, and that Asian American admissions rates do not suffer when other factors are taken into account.

"We believe that Asian Americans should not be used as a wedge group to curtail opportunities for racial minorities," said Tuyet Le, executive director of AAI. "Asian Americans and other communities of color have struggled together against racial discrimination and have fought for greater civil rights, protections, justice, and equality in this country."

The over 70 groups who joined Advancing Justice's brief include national organizations, local community based groups, advocacy organizations, bar associations, business associations, academic institutions, and student organizations. These organizations reflect the broad diversity of the AAPI community, including Filipino, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander American organizations.

To download a copy of the amicus brief or to see the full list of supporting organizations go to

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List of organizations filing the brief

American Citizens for Justice, Inc./Asian American Center for Justice (ACJ)
Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area (AABA)
Asian American Business Roundtable (AABR)
Asian-American Resource Center (AARC)
Asian Law Alliance (ALA)
Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Los Angeles County (APABA)
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO (APALA)
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance - Los Angeles Chapter (APALA)
Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center (APALRC)
Asian Pacific American Women Lawyers Alliance (APAWLA)
Asian Pacific Americans for Progress (APAP)
Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF)
Asian Pacific Islander Equality - Los Angeles (API Equality - LA)
Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach (API Legal Outreach)
Asian Pacific Policy & Planning Council (A3PCON)
Asian Services in Action, Inc. (ASIA)
Association of Asian Pacific Community
Health Organizations (AAPCHO)
Austin Asian American Bar Association (AAABA)
The Cambodian Family
Council of Korean Americans (CKA)
East Coast Asian American Student Union (ECAASU)
Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC)
Filipino Advocates for Justice (FAJ)
Filipino American Service Group Inc. (FASGI)
Filipino Bar Association of Northern California (FBANC)
Japanese American Bar Association (JABA)
Korean American Bar Association of Southern California (KABA)
Korean American Coalition - Los Angeles (KAC)
Korean Resource Center (KRC)
Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance (KIWA)
Koreatown Youth and Community Center (KYCC)
K.W. Lee Center for Leadership
Laotian American National Alliance, Inc. (LANA)
Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, Inc. (LEAP)
National Asian Pacific American Law Student Association (NAPALSA)
National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum (NAPAWF)
National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (National CAPACD)
National Council of Asian Pacific Islander Physicians (NCAPIP)
National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA)
National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA)
Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress (NCRR)
Orange County Asian & Pacific Islander Community Alliance (OCAPICA)
Philippine American Bar Association (PABA)
Pilipino Workers' Center (PWC)
Search to Involve Pilipino Americans (SIPA)
Self-Help for the Elderly
South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT)
South Asian Bar Association of Northern California (SABA-NC)
South Asian Bar Association of Southern California (SABA-SC)
South Asian Network (SAN)
Southeast Asian Community Alliance (SEACA)
Taiwanese American Citizens League (TACL)
Thai Community Development Center (Thai CDC)
TOFA (To'utupu'o e'Otu Felenite Association) Inc.
UC Berkeley, Asian American Studies program of the Ethnic Studies Department
UC Berkeley School of Law, Asian American Law Journal (AALJ)
UC Berkeley School of Law, Asian Pacific American Law Student Association (APALSA)
UC Berkeley School of Law, Pilipino Association of Law Students (PALS)
UC Hastings College of the Law, Asian/Pacific American Law Students Association (APALSA)
UC Irvine, Asian Pacific Student Association (APSA)
UCLA, Asian American Studies Center (UCLA AASC)
UCLA, Samahang Pilipino
UCLA, Vietnamese Student Union (VSU)
UCLA School of Law, Asian Pacific Islander Law Students Association (APILSA)
UCLA School of Law, South Asian Law Students Association (SALSA)
UC San Diego, Kaibigang Pilipino (KP)
United Cambodian Community (UCC)
University of Illinois at Chicago, Asian American Studies Program (ASAM Program at UIC)
University of Southern California, Asian Pacific American Law Students Association (APALSA)
USC Asian Pacific American Student Services (APASS)
Yale University, Asian American Cultural Center (AACC)
Yale University, Asian American Students Alliance (AASA)

The Asian American Center for Advancing Justice ( is comprised of the Asian American Justice Center in Washington, DC (, the Asian American Institute in Chicago (, the Asian Law Caucus in San Francisco ( and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center in Los Angeles ( The mission of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice is to promote a fair and equitable society for all by working for civil and human rights and empowering Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and other underserved communities