Harassment, Sexual, Racial, or Religious

Affirmative Action Again: Fisher v. University of Texas

Civil Rights Practice Group Teleforum Tuesday, December 01, 01:00 PMFederalist Society Teleforum Conference Call

On December 9, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Abigail Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin. In this case, Ms. Fisher challenges the use of racial and ethnic preferences in undergraduate admissions at the University. This is the case’s second trip to the Supreme Court: In 2013, the Court reversed a Fifth Circuit decision that had upheld the University’s policy, and said the lower court had been too deferential to the school, particularly with respect to applying the “narrow tailoring” prong of strict scrutiny. On remand, the Fifth Circuit again ruled for the University, and last summer the Court granted Ms. Fisher’s petition.

Mr. Clegg and Mr. Shaw will discuss what the Court is likely to do with the case, as well as what the Court should do with the case. The Court’s review comes at an interesting time, with numerous campus protests on race-related issues. Also of interest is the fact that Ms. Fisher’s lawyers have now filed lawsuits against Harvard and the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, and have emphasized allegations of discrimination against Asian Americans.


  • Roger B. Clegg, President and General Counsel, Center for Equal Opportunity
  • Prof. Theodore M. Shaw, Julius L. Chambers Distinguished Professor of Law, and Director of the Center for Civil Rights, University of North Carolina School of Law

Texas RFRA and the Houston "HERO" LGBT Referendum - Podcast

Texas Chapters Podcast
John C. Eastman, Josh Blackman, Kathleen Hunker, Eugene Volokh October 05, 2015

The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) ballot initiative, which extends to housing & employment, has been described as an expansive LGBT anti-discrimination measure. The Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the new Pastor Protection Act are intended to provide rights of conscience protection and some assurance of employment accommodation for religious objectors, in light of initiatives like HERO and the anti-discrimination ordinance in San Antonio. After the Supreme Court Obergefell v. Hodges decision, more and more states will face the conundrum encountered by states like Indiana, Kentucky, and now Texas, where the recently affirmed LGBT constitutional privacy interest is in tension with state and federal RFRA laws and other constitutional religious objector protections. Will states that desire to carve out religious conviction protections be eclipsed by the momentum of locally based anti-discrimination measures? Do federal laws provide sufficient public office and private party religious expression protection?


  • Prof. John Eastman, Henry Salvatori Professor of Law & Community Service, Chapman University School of Law
  • Prof. Josh Blackman, Assistant Professor of Law, South Texas College of Law
  • Kathleen Hunker, Senior Policy Analyst with the Center for Economic Freedom, Texas Public Policy Foundation
  • Prof. Eugene Volokh,  Gary T. Schwartz Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law

The Hijab Case

Short video with Rachel Paulose discussing EEOC v. Abercrombie
Rachel K. Paulose February 26, 2015

Former US Attorney for Minnesota, Rachel Paulose, explains the issues in dispute before the Supreme Court in EEOC v. Abercrombie in which a 17-year-old Muslim applicant alleges employment discrimination when Abercrombie refused to hire her as a "model" because of her religious head-covering.  Abercrombie denies the allegation.

As always, the Federalist Society takes no position on particular legal or public policy issues; all expressions of opinion are those of the speaker.

Sexual Assault on Campus - Event Video

2014 National Lawyers Convention
Heather MacDonald, Seth Galanter, Lara S. Kaufmann, Greg Lukianoff, Diane S. Sykes, Gail Heriot November 17, 2014

Sexual assault on campus is a serious issue—so serious that it is difficult for some to speak plainly about it.  As a result, disagreements abound—even about issues as fundamental as the definition of sexual assault.  This panel will discuss the nature and extent of sexual assault on campus.  It will examine the Department of Education’s “Dear Colleague” letter of April 4, 2011 on sexual violence, the numerous investigations that it has opened in colleges and universities around the country, and the effect they are having on campus.  It will also discuss the new  "Only Yes Means Yes," laws recently adopted in California and being considered around the country.  Among the questions that will be addressed are: How dangerous are our college campuses?  From where does the U.S. Department of Education derive the authority to address this issue?  Is due process being accorded to those who are accused of sexual assault?

The Federalist Society's Civil Rights Practice Group presented this panel on "Sexual Assult on Campus" on Friday, November 14, during the 2014 National Lawyers Convention.


  • Ms. Heather Mac Donald, Thomas W. Smith Fellow, Manhattan Institute
  • Mr. Seth Galanter, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education
  • Ms. Lara S. Kaufmann, Senior Counsel & Director of Education Policy for At-Risk Students, National Women's Law Center
  • Mr. Greg Lukianoff, President, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
  • Moderator: Hon. Diane S. Sykes, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • Introduction: Hon. Gail Heriot, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and Professor, University of San Diego School of Law; and Chairman, Civil Rights Practice Group

Mayflower Hotel
Washington, DC

Passion and Prudence in the Political Process: The Debate Over Federal Civil Rights Policy - Event Audio/Video

Civil Rights in the United States
Diana Furchtgott-Roth, Lara S. Kaufmann, Gail Heriot, Robert Barnes September 14, 2014

Emotions sometimes run high in the public debates over race and gender issues. Some claim that public passions can obscure facts and result in ill-considered policy. Many observers have bemoaned the public rhetoric surrounding the recent events in Ferguson, Missouri as more inflammatory than constructive. Another example can be found in criticism over President Obama’s use of a misleading, or at least contestable, figure in his 2014 State of the Union address: “Today, women make up about half our workforce. But they still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. That is wrong, and in 2014, it’s an embarrassment. A woman deserves equal pay for equal work.” But equal pay for equal work has been the law since 1963, and some researchers have questioned whether the pay gap exists in reality to the same extent it does rhetorically. Are similarly emotional arguments being used in the debates over sexual assault in the military, hate crimes, and harassment and bullying in public schools? This panel will explore the concerns over this problem and its policy consequences.

This panel on "Passion and Prudence in the Political Process: The Debate Over Federal Civil Rights Policy" was part of a day-long conference on Civil Rights in the United States held on September 9, 2014, and co-sponsored by the Federalist Society's Civil Rights Practice Group, the Cato Institute, and the Heritage Foundation.


  • Ms. Diana Furchtgott-Roth, Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute for Policy Research
  • Ms. Lara S. Kaufmann, Senior Counsel & Director of Education Policy for At-Risk Students, National Women's Law Center
  • Hon. Gail Heriot, Professor of Law, University of San Diego School of Law and Commissioner, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights
  • Moderator: Mr. Robert Barnes, Supreme Court Correspondent, The Washington Post

The Mayflower Hotel
Washington, DC