University of Texas at Austin

On Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit released the latest opinion in UT v. Fisher, the ongoing battle over the role of race-based preferences in the University of Texas at Austin’s undergraduate admissions policy. Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Fifth Circuit had failed to apply the proper strict scrutiny standard to its earlier review of UT’s admissions scheme. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the court “must ultimately be satisfied that no workable race-neutral alternatives would produce the educational benefits of diversity.” He cautioned that, if a non-race-discriminatory approach could bring about UT’s stated goal of a “critical mass” of campus diversity, “then the university may not consider race.” The Court remanded the case back to the Fifth Circuit. This week, two of the three judges on the Fifth Circuit panel concluded that the use of race was, indeed, necessary.

Judge Emilio Garza’s dissent (beginning on page 44) criticizes the majority opinion for deferring impermissibly to UT’s claims, despite the Supreme Court’s instruction. He writes, “Although the University has articulated its diversity goal as a ‘critical mass,’ surprisingly, it has failed to define this term in any objective manner.” He later writes, “The majority entirely overlooks the University’s failure to define its ‘critical mass’ objective for the purposes of assessing narrow tailoring. This is the crux of this case — absent a meaningful explanation of its desired ends, the University cannot prove narrow tailoring under its strict scrutiny burden.”

How much diversity is a critical mass of diversity? Is this a unit of measure like a team of oxen or a murder of crows? How can a court possibly determine whether a given policy is necessary to achieve critical mass if we don’t know what that is? UT isn’t exactly the International Bureau of Weights and Measures, but a little bit more precision would be helpful.

The concept of critical mass is problematic for many reasons. Its vagueness provides a poor measure for reviewing courts. It packs in several dubious assumptions about the meaning of race. Here’s one more reason why “critical mass” is such a critical mess . . . .

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Left to right: Eric Cuellar, a mysterious third man, and Justin Teixeira.

It seems that our coverage of Eric Cuellar and Justin Teixeira, two law students at Boalt Hall who have been charged with killing an exotic bird at a Las Vegas casino, has ruffled some feathers. Some readers believe that Cuellar and Teixeira been unfairly maligned in these pages.

In our coverage, we have repeatedly stressed that these two law students remain innocent until proven guilty. We have also cited positive comments about them that we’ve received from sources. For example, correspondents have praised Cuellar to us as “an upstanding guy and an excellent leader” and “a really nice guy.” They described the alleged conduct as out of character for Cuellar.

To some readers, however, these comments have not been enough. They’ve written to us with further testimonials in favor of the defendants, to which we now turn….

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Left to right: Eric Cuellar, mystery man, and Justin Teixeira.

The story of Eric Cuellar and Justin Teixeira, two law students at Boalt Hall who have been charged with killing an exotic bird at a Las Vegas casino, has taken flight. It has made national and international headlines.

Given the intense public interest, we will continue to cover this flap. Keep reading for Berkeley Law’s reaction to the charges, tidbits about Teixeira and Cuellar from people who know them, and details from the arrest report — including mention of a mysterious third man….

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If you’re a bride-to-be — and let’s face it, even if you’re not — you’ve probably seen at least a few episodes of TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress. The show features the goings-on at Kleinfeld, one of the premier bridal salons in New York City, where staff members assist brides in their quest to find the perfect wedding dress.

Imagine our surprise when we tuned in to watch the show, and caught a glimpse of a beautiful lawyer searching for a wedding gown. But this was not just any lawyer — this lawyer used to have an action-packed career as a stunt woman. These days, though, she gets all of her action inside of a courtroom.

So who is this stunt woman turned lawyer? Why did she decide to make such a drastic career change? And how did she snag her husband, the general counsel to a Fortune 500 company?

All of this and more, including some glamorous wedding photos, after the jump….

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