A Message from Dean Gerken on Today’s Supreme Court Ruling on Admissions


Dean Heather K. Gerken sent the below message to the Yale Law School community on June 29, 2023.

Dear Members of the Community,

Today the Supreme Court overturned decades of precedent allowing universities to consider race as one factor in admissions decisions. The ruling rests on a profoundly mistaken understanding of the role race plays in our society and the importance of diversity to higher education. At a moment when our vibrant multiracial democracy is under attack, the Court has chosen to turn a blind eye to our nation’s history and disregard the expertise of scholars, the considered judgments of institutions across higher education, and the everyday realities of our students.  

Although the Court has rewritten the law that binds us, it has not changed our mission nor altered our commitments. We have worked tirelessly to draw in the brightest minds in the country and to ensure that a legal education is accessible to all. Our admissions process has long taken into account the obstacles that have limited access to our profession, including racial discrimination. All of those efforts have attracted an exceptional student body. Each and every one of our students has earned their place here, and we are all the better for their presence.

Going forward, my administration will do everything it can to advance this vital work within the limits of the law, and we will never lose sight of the fundamental commitments to equity and inclusion that are at the core of this profession and this institution. We will do everything within our authority to serve as a crucial gateway for underrepresented groups entering our profession.

It will take time for all of us to fully process this decision and reflect on its import. We have already begun to evaluate our policies to ensure they comply with the Court’s holding. In the meantime, our community is lucky to have many extraordinary faculty who can help frame a conversation taking place on campuses across the country.   


Heather K. Gerken
Dean and Sol & Lillian Goldman Professor of Law