Affirmative action foe wins California court fight

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In a bitter fight over the effects of affirmative action, the California Supreme Court ruled Thursday that law school data on race, attendance and grades should be available to the public.

The unanimous decision represents a legal victory for a law professor seeking to test his notion that minority students are actually harmed by preferential admissions policies.

University of California, Los Angeles law professor Richard Sander created a firestorm when he published his "mismatch theory" in the Stanford Law Review in 2004.

Critics swiftly attacked his conclusions, saying Sander understated the positive effects of affirmative action and based his thinking on inadequate statistics.

To further his research, Sander sought data on ethnicity and scholastic performance compiled by the State Bar of California with a public records request in 2008. The state bar denied the request, prompting the lawsuit.

Information compiled by the bar, a branch of the state judiciary responsible with licensing and disciplining lawyers, is "unparalleled," Sander said after the ruling Thursday.

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