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San Mateo County Bar Association Presentation on Accessibility to Education

Posted By Kevin R. Johnson, Oct 25, 2013

I recently had the good fortune to participate in a public discussion with former University of California Regent Ward Connerly, architect of Proposition 209, the measure that ended race-conscious affirmative action at California public colleges and universities.Organized by the Diversity Committee of the San Mateo County Bar Association, the program was the Fifth Annual Speaker Series on Accessibility to Education and focused on "The Future of Our Legal Profession." The event was held in the historic San Mateo County "old" courthouse, which is strikingly beautiful.

Professor Peter Keane, the former dean of Golden Gate, moderated a discussion between me and Mr. Connerly on affirmative action, diversity, and the impacts on undergraduate and legal education. Besides discussing Supreme Court affirmative action decisions, including the 2013 decision in Fisher v. University of Texas, I discussed the current demographic composition of the lawyers in California and highlighted the need for efforts, with legal constraints, to havethe attorney population more closely reflect the richness of the diversity of California.Among other things, Mr. Connerly described his motivations and efforts to eliminate the consideration of race in any way in the University of California admissions process.

It was a lively discussion and I enjoyed it immensely. Thanks to the Diversity Committee of the San Mateo County Bar Association, chaired by Kevin Allen, Esq., for inviting me to participate and to Mr. Connerly for his respectful and collegial discussion of these important issues.