Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Appeals Panel Backs UW's Use of Race in Law School Admissions

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Appeals Panel Backs UW's Use of Race in Law School Admissions

Article excerpt

SEATTLE

The University of Washington Law School did not illegally discriminate against three White applicants when it denied them admission in the mid-1990s, a federal appeals court panel ruled in December.

The decision upheld a 2002 ruling by U.S. District Judge Thomas Zilly, and means Katuria Smith, Angela Rock and Michael Pyle are not entitled to damages.

The three became poster children for the campaign to pass Initiative 200, which eliminated state preferences for women and minorities in education, hiring and contracting.

Until the initiative passed in 1998, the law school considered race as one factor in admissions. The three argued that without the policy, they would have been admitted.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in the Smith case--and the U.S. Supreme Court agreed in its University of Michigan Law School decision last year--that ensuring educational diversity was a legitimate goal of the state.

The case then returned to Zilly, who had to decide whether the policy was correctly applied to Smith, Rock and Pyle when they were denied admission from 1994-1996. …

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