Author Archives: nancyleong

Washington Post Op-Ed on Affirmative Action

I have an op-ed in the Washington Post today, coauthored with Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean at UC Berkeley School of Law. An excerpt:

Given the many ways that affirmative action benefits Asian American students and their communities, we should see conservative solicitude for Asian Americans “harmed” by affirmative action as strategic rather than genuine. Conservative opponents of affirmative action have not, generally speaking, taken an interest in other issues that affect Asian American welfare in unique ways, ranging from employment discrimination to health care to immigration.

So why the conservative concern when it comes to affirmative action? The answer is that Asian Americans provide a convenient tool for opponents of affirmative action.  By framing opposition to affirmative action as concern for Asian Americans, opponents of affirmative action can protect the existing racial hierarchy — with white people at the top — while disguising their efforts as race-neutral rather than racially motivated.

We suspect that Asian Americans will see through this clumsy and cynical attempt to deploy them in service of dismantling affirmative action. And at least for the time being, the Supreme Court has been clear that affirmative action policies are constitutional. But if anything, anti-affirmative action efforts demonstrate the need for racial diversity. One way to improve upon the shallow racial understanding of affirmative action opponents is to ensure diverse educational environments that promote clear thinking and honest conversation about racial issues.

New Draft: Against Women’s Sports

I have posted a draft of my latest research, titled “Against Women’s Sports,” on SSRN. The piece asks us to critically examine the current norm of gender segregation in sports, regardless of the level and nature of the sport. I then suggest that some sports do not survive the constitutional standard of intermediate scrutiny, and that in any event we should think much more carefully about the existing norm of segregation than is our current practice.

Ohio State Law Journal Symposium

I am so pleased to be at Ohio State to speak at the Ohio State Law Journal’s symposium, “The Expanding First Amendment.” I will argue that the First Amendment doesn’t protect the right for platform economy hosts, such as those who rent their properties on Airbnb or VRBO, to discriminate on the basis of race or other protected characteristics. A draft of the paper I plan to publish with the journal’s symposium edition is available on SSRN.