Law Professors to Debate Affirmative Action
Posted on October 22, 2012
On Monday, Oct. 22, at noon the University of Arkansas Chapter of the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies will host a debate between Professor Brian Fitzpatrick and Mark Killenbeck in the E.J. Ball Courtroom, located in room 240 of Law School building at 1045 W. Maple Street.
These professionals will be debating the pros and cons of affirmative action. Advocates say affirmative action policies support social equality through preferential treatment of socioeconomically disadvantaged people. Opponents argue that affirmative action is counterproductive by devaluing the contributions of members of the groups it is supposed to protect.
Fitzpatrick’s research at Vanderbilt focuses on class action litigation, federal courts, judicial selection and constitutional law. He joined Vanderbilt’s law faculty in 2007 as an associate professor, after serving as the John M. Olin Fellow at New York University School of Law. He graduated first in his class from Harvard Law School and went on to clerk for Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and Justice Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court. After his clerkships, Professor Fitzpatrick practiced commercial and appellate litigation for several years at Sidley Austin in Washington, D.C., and served as special counsel for Supreme Court nominations to U.S. Senator John Cornyn. Before earning his law degree, Fitzpatrick graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame. He received the Hall-Hartman Outstanding Professor Award, which recognizes excellence in classroom teaching, for his Civil Procedure course for the 2008-09 academic year.
Professor Mark Killenbeck has been at the University of Arkansas School of Law since 1988. He teaches Constitutional Law, the First Amendment, American Legal History, and Criminal Law. He earned his undergraduate degree from Boston College, majoring in English literature. He earned both his J.D. and Ph.D. at the University of Nebraska.
Killenbeck is the author of numerous books, chapters, articles, and papers, with a special focus on federalism, American constitutional history, and affirmative action and diversity. His articles have appeared in a number of major national law journals, including the Supreme Court Review, California Law Review, Michigan Law Review, Vanderbilt Law Review, and Hastings Law Journal.
Killenbeck’s assessment of the Supreme Court’s 2003 affirmative action decisions, Affirmative Action and Diversity: The Beginning of the End? Or the End of the Beginning?, was published in 2004 by the Educational Testing Service in their Policy Information Perspective series. He has also contributed chapters to a number “of works, the most recent of which is Affirmative Action and the Courts: From Plessy to Brown to Grutter, And Back?,” which appeared in Social Consciousness in Legal Decision Making: Psychological Perspectives (Springer Publishing Co., June 2007).
The Federalist Society is an organization of 40,000 lawyers, law students, scholars and conservative or libertarian citizens whose main purpose is to sponsor fair, serious, and open debates about the Constitution and the need to enhance individual freedom and the role of the courts in saying what the law is rather than what they wish it to be.