MBA issues statements on two Supreme Court decisions

Thursday, July 6, 2023
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On Friday, June 30, Massachusetts Bar Association President Grace V.B. Garcia issued two statements in response to decisions rendered by the U.S. Supreme Court: 

admissions practices

The first statement addressed the court's decision in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina, which eliminates race-conscious admissions practices in higher education:

“The Massachusetts Bar Association was dismayed to learn of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision forbidding colleges and universities from affirmatively admitting diverse student bodies. The decision removes a long-standing tool for building diverse and more inclusive and equitable matriculations, which is a pathway to a diverse workforce and a diverse legal community. The under-representation of attorneys of color in the profession is a disservice to our justice system and the profession as a whole. As a result, bar-related efforts to reach out to students in underrepresented communities to bring them into the legal profession, such as the MBA's Tiered Community Mentoring Program and the Supreme Judicial Court’s Judicial Youth Corps program, are critical. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision is incredibly concerning, as it takes away an avenue that encourages diversity, equity and inclusion.

"The MBA was founded on principles of inclusion and today strives to be the professional home to legal practitioners of all backgrounds, in keeping with our role as the statewide bar association. We remain committed to expanding career pathways for aspiring lawyers of color and also to increasing diversity and representation in our own leadership ranks. At the same time, we look forward to working with others in the community to find additional solutions to fill the void caused by the Court’s decision.” 

Access rights for same-sex couples

The second statement focused on the court's decision in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, which found that a designer of wedding websites can refuse to work with same-sex couples: 

“The Massachusetts Bar Association shares the disappointment of many in the legal community who have spoken out against today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision that authorizes a designer of wedding websites to refuse services to same-sex couples.
“The decision, which cites the designer’s right to free speech, is in stark contrast to the protections afforded by public accommodation laws to members of the LGBTQ+ community and other groups who may experience discrimination. No individual seeking to patronize a business should be turned away based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, or membership in a racial or ethnic group. 
“We have long supported the expansion of rights and protections for the LGBTQ+ community, including by filing an amicus brief in the groundbreaking case of Goodridge vs. Department of Public Health, which resulted in Massachusetts becoming the first state to recognize that same-sex couples had the right to marry.
“We stand with our colleagues in the LGBTQ+ community, including our affinity partners at the Massachusetts LGBTQ Bar Association, and remain committed to the promotion of inclusion within the legal profession and beyond."