Lawsuit alleges that Northwestern law school's hiring practices are biased against white men

The complaint says that the hiring process favors women and people of color.

July 3, 2024, 1:33 PM

A lawsuit filed against Northwestern University’s law school claims that its hiring practices give preference to less-qualified women and applicants of color, taking away opportunities from better qualified white men.

The lawsuit, which was filed in Federal District Court in Chicago, alleges that faculty hiring practices at universities in the United States are a “cesspool of corruption and lawlessness.”

The suit alleges that Northwestern Pritzker School of Law has instituted a mandate to hire more women and people of color, which the suit claims is a violation of federal law that prohibits discriminating against applicants on the basis of race and sex.

The lawsuit, filed on Tuesday, comes a year after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down affirmative action programs in college admissions.

“Northwestern Pritzker School of Law is among the top law schools in the country, and we are proud of their outstanding faculty,” Northwestern University spokesperson Jon Yates said in a statement to ABC News. “We intend to vigorously defend this case.”

Jonathan Mitchell, the lead attorney behind the suit, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Mitchell is known for his work as the lawyer behind S.B. 8, the Texas abortion law passed in 2021. He has also represented former President Donald Trump at the Supreme Court for his right to appear on the Colorado presidential primary ballot this year.

The plaintiff, Faculty, Alumni, and Students Opposed to Racial Preferences (FASORP) describes themselves as a voluntary, nonprofit membership organization “formed for the purpose of restoring meritocracy in academia and fighting race and sex preferences that subordinate academic merit to so-called diversity considerations.”

The lawsuit alleges that the law school hires women and people of color “with mediocre and undistinguished records over white men who have better credentials, better scholarship and better teaching ability.”

It says that three of 21 job offers from the law school over the past three years have gone to white men.

FASORP previously tried to sue both New York University and Harvard Law Reviews in 2018 for similar claims of discrimination against white men. In both cases they were unsuccessful, with a judge ruling that the organization and its members lacked standing to sue.