Top Law School Dean Available to Discuss SCOTUS Affirmative Action Decision
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UM Francis King Carey School of Law dean Phoebe Haddon, JD, LLM believes that over the years the court has all but “broken the promise of Brown” (Oliver Brown, et al. v. Board of Education of Topeka, et al.). A decision in Fisher vs. University of Texas - Austin that would prevent colleges from considering race as an admissions criterion would definitely break that promise, in her view. She speculates that the growing visibility of a black middle class may have led to a public perception that racial inequality is a problem that’s been solved. As a result “colorblind” criteria are fine. Yet, she argues, schools remain effectively segregated, despite strong and growing evidence from social science research that diversity—the opportunity for people of different races and income levels to interact in school, at work, in neighborhoods—yields large and positive benefits. Her aunt, a sociologist, was instrumental in getting the Keyes case (Keyes v. School District No. 1) up to the Supreme Court, which, in 1974, ruled that the Denver school system must be integrated.
Dean Haddon is a fourth-generation African American lawyer. She was appointed in 2009 Dean of the University of Maryland School of Law, the nation’s third-oldest law school, founded in 1816.
Dean Haddon joined Maryland Law after more than 25 years as a distinguished faculty member at the Temple University Beasley School of Law in Philadelphia. An accomplished scholar on constitutional law and tort law, Dean Haddon is the co-author of two casebooks in those fields and has written numerous scholarly articles on equal protection, jury participation, academic freedom and diversity. She is currently on the board of The Constitution Project, a national nonpartisan effort to promote and safeguard the nation’s founding charter.
Under Dean Haddon’s leadership, Maryland Law’s reputation and resources have continued to grow. In 2011, the school’s national rankings rose six spots—the greatest increase of any top-tier law school. That same year, the school also received a $30 million gift from the W. P. Carey Foundation, the largest gift in the school’s history and one of the top 10 largest gifts to any law school, public or private. The gift will support faculty development and strengthen the school’s academic programs.
Dean Haddon has provided leadership to numerous organizations dedicated to improving American legal education. She received the 2011 Great Teacher Award from the Society of American Law Teachers (SALT) and was until recently on the Council of the American Bar Association Section on Legal Education and Admission to the Bar, the official accrediting body of American law schools. She has also served as co-president of the board of governors and member of the executive committee of the Society of American Law Teachers, as a member of the executive committee of the Association of American Law Schools, and a trustee of the Law School Admissions Council.
Since joining Maryland Law, Dean Haddon has quickly become engaged in city and state-wide organizations. In 2010, she was honored by The Daily Record as one of the year’s most Influential Marylanders and by the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture. She is on the board of the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women and is a member of the Lawyers’ Round Table and the 2011 class of Leadership Maryland.
During her years at Temple, she fought racial and gender bias on the Pennsylvania bench and bar, serving on several state and city bodies, including the City of Philadelphia Board of Ethics. Previously she had practiced at Wilmer Cutler & Pickering in Washington, DC and clerked for The Honorable Joseph F. Weis Jr. of the United State Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
Dean Haddon earned an LLM from Yale Law School and a Juris Doctor, cum laude, from Duquesne University School of Law, where she was editor-in-chief of the Duquesne Law Review. She received a bachelor’s degree from Smith College and served as vice-chair of the Smith College Board of Trustees until her appointment as dean.