Project on Fair Representation Challenges Racial and Gender Quotas for the Texas State Bar Board of Directors

(Washington, DC) Today, the Project on Fair Representation announces the filing of a lawsuit in federal court challenging the racial and gender quotas for board membership on the Texas State Bar. The complaint can be found at www.projectonfairrepresentation.org.

Under Texas law, the Board of Directors of the State Bar must include “four minority member directors appointed by the President of the State Bar.” §81.020(b). The law states that only “female, African-American, Hispanic-American, Native American, or Asian-Americans” will be considered for these four positions. The complaint notes that this law violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment because there is no justification for imposing a racial, ethnic, or gender quota for board appointment to the Texas State Bar.

The plaintiff is Mr. Greg Gegenheimer, a well-known and highly respected family law attorney who practices in the Austin, Texas area. Since Mr. Gegenheimer is a white male, he is disqualified from being considered for these board positions.

Mr. Gegenheimer said, “I find it inconceivable that the State of Texas can create leadership positions on the Board of Directors for the State Bar and then exclude me from consideration for these positions solely because of my race and gender. I look forward to seeing this law declared unconstitutional.”

Edward Blum, president of the Project on Fair Representation, said, “For the last forty years, numeric racial and gender quotas like those mandated by the Texas Bar have been struck down by the courts as unconstitutional. There is no legal rationale the Bar can offer to justify this discrimination.”

Counsel for Mr. Gegenheimer are Mr. Jonathan Mitchell, Visiting Professor of Law at Stanford Univ. and a former Texas Solicitor General; and Mr. J. Michael Connolly and Mr. William Consovoy of Consovoy McCarthy Park PLLC of Arlington, Virginia.

Please read the complaint here.