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Feburary 20, 2007

Press Contact: Laura Castro, UT Law Communications, 512-232-1229
Event and Press Contact: Tanikqua Young, TMLS Vice-President, tmlsvicepresident@gmail.com

Attorneys to Discuss the Supreme Court and Diversity in Public Schools, Feb. 21

AUSTIN, Texas—The Thurgood Marshall Legal Society (TMLS) and Texas Appleseed will host a panel discussion analyzing the Supreme Court’s recent review of diversity plans in public schools on Wednesday, Feb. 21, at The University of Texas School of Law.

The event, which is free and open to the general public and University community, will be held in the Francis Auditorium starting at noon. Lunch will be provided on a first-come first-served basis. In addition, attorneys may receive one hour of MCLE participatory credit at no cost.

The event, titled “Is Diversity in Public Schools Worth Pursuing? Exploring What the Law Allows,” is co-sponsored by The University of Texas Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, and the American Constitution Society. Dr. Gregory Vincent, vice president of Diversity and Community Engagement at The University of Texas, will give opening remarks.

The panel discussion will focus on the relevance of the Supreme Court’s review of Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1 and Meredith v. Jefferson County Board, and the impact the Court’s upcoming decision will have on the affirmative action debate. Both cases challenged whether public school officials have the authority to adopt policies designed to give students the benefit of learning in racially and ethnically diverse schools.

Moderated by Norma Cantu, a UT professor of law and education, the panel will include attorneys representing diverse viewpoints. Amy Magee, an attorney in TASB’s legal department, will represent the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB). David Hinojosa, a staff attorney with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), serves as lead counsel in a number of public school desegregation cases in Texas. MALDEF also filed an amicus brief in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District supporting the school district’s right to use diversity plans.

Also on the panel is Sharon L. Browne, principal attorney with the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF), who second chaired oral arguments for the petitioners in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District before the Supreme Court. She also authored the PLF’s amicus briefs in the case and is leading PLF's own litigation against race-based student assignment policies in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

TMLS is the University of Texas chapter of the Black Law Students’ Association, a national coalition of black law students with members from nearly every law school in the country.

Related Links:

Thurgood Marshall Legal Society:
http://www.utexas.edu/law/orgs/tmls/

Texas Appleseed:
http://www.texasappleseed.net/

University of Texas Division of Diversity and Community Engagement:
http://www.utexas.edu/diversity/ddce/

MALDEF:
http://www.maldef.org/

Pacific Legal Foundation:
http://www.pacificlegal.org/