A message from Dean Jenny Martinez re: today’s SCOTUS ruling on race-conscious university admissions


Publish Date:
June 29, 2023


To the SLS Community,

I am sure you have read the message from Stanford president Marc Tessier-Lavigne about today’s Supreme Court decisions on college admissions. Stanford articulated the value of diversity forcefully in the amicus brief that the university submitted supporting Harvard and the University of North Carolina in these cases.

Like many of you, I am deeply disappointed in these decisions. I am sure you have questions about how the new rulings will affect our admissions procedures, and I am also sure you understand why it will take some time for us to fully answer those questions, especially given the length of the opinions. Our process of responding to today’s decisions should be informed by input from our community as well as involving careful analysis of the legal contours of what is permissible. But while there may be challenges ahead, I am confident that Stanford Law School, along with the rest of the university, will find a path forward consistent with the law and with our institutional values.

Like other parts of the university, our most immediate plans will focus on expanded outreach and recruitment. We will seek to increase SLS’s connections and partnerships with pre-law programs at a wide variety of colleges, community-based organizations, and other outside entities to encourage applications from excellent students of all backgrounds, especially those who might for geographic or financial reasons not have considered applying to SLS before. We also intend to use both technology and in-person outreach to connect with prospective students, to maximize the number of admits who choose Stanford, and to partner with peer institutions in collective efforts to prepare students from all backgrounds to apply successfully to law school. I would note that our students and alumni can play a particularly valuable role in these efforts. Finally, our continued focus on need-based financial aid – including our policy of guaranteeing full-tuition scholarships to students from families below 200 percent of the poverty-line and supporting students in public service and public interest careers with generous loan repayment assistance – will help ensure that talented students from all walks of life can come to SLS.

Our admissions office and the faculty-led admissions committee look forward to your input and partnership in coming months as we adapt. Professor Bernadette Meyler is chairing our faculty admissions committee for next year, and she and Associate Dean for Admissions Faye Deal will be reaching out to hold listening sessions with members of the SLS community during the Summer and Fall. Stay tuned for emails about signing up for those sessions.

In the more immediate term, the Stanford Center for Racial Justice and the Stanford Constitutional Law Center will be hosting a panel on Zoom tomorrow with several of our faculty members to share their expertise and discuss what the decision means for existing constitutional and civil rights law, as well as for affirmative action policies and diversity in America more broadly.  The session will be recorded for those who cannot attend live.

I look forward to collaborating with our community as we figure out the best ways to move forward together.

My best,

Jenny S. Martinez
Richard E. Lang Professor of Law and
Dean of Stanford Law School