Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Straight White Male NYU 1L May Proceed Anonymously In Law Review Discrimination Case

Following up on my previous post, Lawsuit Claims NYU Law Review Discriminates Against Straight White Men In Selection Of Student Editors:  Reuters, Plaintiff in NYU Law Review Discrimination Case May Remain Anonymous:

NYU Law ReviewA white, heterosexual, male law student who sued New York University claiming that its law school's flagship law review gives preference to women and minorities in violation of U.S. law may proceed with his case anonymously, at least for now, a Manhattan federal judge has ruled.

U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero did not explain his reasoning in his Tuesday order, but noted that NYU may seek to disclose the plaintiff's identity once the case is assigned to a judge.

The plaintiff — listed as John Doe in court papers — is in his first year at the NYU School of Law and intends to apply for a spot on the NYU Law Review in the summer of 2024, according to his October lawsuit. ...

Doe’s suit is the first legal challenge to law review diversity policies following the U.S. Supreme Court’s June decision that prohibited race-conscious college and university admissions.

Eugene Volokh (UCLA; Google Scholar), Challenge to NYU Law Review's Race and Sex Preferences May Proceed Pseudonymously, at Least for Now:

The plaintiff is John Doe, "is a first-year law student at NYU [Law School]," who would be representing a class "of all present and future students at NYU Law School who: (a) intend to apply for membership on the NYU Law Review; and (b) are white, heterosexual men who identify as men, consistent with their biologically assigned sex." And today, Judge Victor Marrero allowed Doe to proceed pseudonymously, though "without prejudice to New York University's right to move the Court to direct Plaintiff to disclose his identity, or any other appropriate relief, once the Clerk of Court assigns this case to a District Judge."

This strikes me as unusual, though perhaps it's explicable by the desire to preserve the status quo until the case is taken over by the judge who will be permanently assigned to the case.

The motion for leave to proceed under pseudonym is itself sealed, so I'm not sure just what arguments persuaded the judge. I take it, though, that the likeliest rationale is that the plaintiff is worried that suing would lead to social ostracism, possible loss of job opportunities, and perhaps possible rejection by the NYU Law Review itself (not based on plaintiff's race, sex, and sexual orientation, but based on his having sued).

Yet as a general matter, such concerns, which are present in many cases (especially in employment cases), don't justify pseudonymity. ...

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

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