Photo: Vinay Harpalani

Vinay Harpalani

Professor of Law

  • Don L. & Mabel F. Dickason Endowed Chair in Law

Education

  • J.D., New York University (2009)
  • Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania (2005)
  • M.Be, University of Pennsylvania (2004)
  • M.S.Ed., University of Pennsylvania (1999)
  • B.A., University of Delaware (1997)
  • H.B.A., University of Delaware (1996)
  • Member of the New York and U.S. Supreme Court Bars

Contact Information

 Ph.: 505-277-5653
 Office: 2526
 

Profile

Vinay Harpalani is Professor of Law and the Don L. and Mabel F. Dickason Endowed Chair in Law at the University of New Mexico School of Law, where he teaches courses in constitutional law, civil procedure, employment discrimination, and race and law.  He is also Affiliated Faculty in the Department of Africana Studies and a member of the Community Advisory Board for the Asian American Pacific Islander Resource Center at the University of New Mexico.  Professor Harpalani received the 2017 Derrick A. Bell, Jr. Award from the Association of American Law Schools Section on Minority Groups and the 2016 Junior Teaching Faculty Award from the Society of American Law Teachers.

In 2021, the American Constitution Society recommended him to the Biden-Harris White House as a potential judicial nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.  Professor Harpalani’s scholarship examines racial identity, diversity, and equity from an interdisciplinary perspective, integrating law with social sciences and ethnic studies.  He has worked with NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and other civil rights organizations to defend racial diversity and equity initiatives.  Seven of his law review articles were cited in 15 separate U.S. Supreme Court amicus briefs defending affirmative action in Fisher v. University of Texas and SFFA v. Harvard/UNC.

His 2012 article, Diversity Within Racial Groups and the Constitutionality of Race-Conscious Admissions, was quoted (critically, with citation omitted) in Justice Samuel Alito’s dissent in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin II.  Professor Harpalani has also been quoted in various national media outlets, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Time.   Besides affirmative action, his other work has examined Asian and South Asian American racial identity, skin color discrimination law, and racial identity development among Black children.  He received his bachelors’ degrees from the University of Delaware, his masters’ degrees and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, and his J.D. from New York University School of Law.  Professor Harpalani grew up in New Castle County, Delaware, where his experiences with school desegregation led to his interest in race and law.

Courses

  • Constitutional Law I
  • Civil Procedure I
  • Employment Discrimination
  • Civil Rights

Publications

Book Chapters

Gifted with a Second-Sight”: Professor Derrick Bell the Teacher, Covenant Keeper: Derrick Bell’s Enduring Education Legacy (Gloria J. Ladson-Billings & William F. Tate eds.) (2016).
Available at: Your Library

What Does “Acting White” Actually Mean?: Racial Identity, Adolescent Development, and Academic Achievement among Black Youth, Minority Status, Oppositional Culture, and Schooling (John U. Ogbu ed.) (co-authored with Margaret Beale Spencer) (2008).
Available at: UNM Libraries

Colorism Embodied: Skin Tone and Psychosocial Well-Being in Adolescence, Developmental Perspectives on Embodiment and Consciousness (Willis F. Overton et al. eds.) (co-authored with Suzanne G. Fegley et al.) (2008).
Available at: Your Library

Nature, Nurture, and the Question of How?: A Phenomenological Variant of Ecological Systems Theory (PVEST), Nature and Nurture: The Complex Interplay of Genetic and Environmental Influences on Human Behavior and Development (Cynthia García Coll et al. eds.) (co-authored with Margaret Beale Spencer) (2004).
Available at: UNM HSLIC

Articles

“With All Deliberate Speed”: The Ironic Demise of (and Hope For) Affirmative Action, 76 SMU L. Rev. F. 91 (2023). 

Available at: UNM-DR

From the DeVine Gift to the Devil's Bargains: Asian Americans in the Ideology of White Supremacy, 103 B. U. L. Rev. Online 151 (2023).

Available at: UNM-DR

Asian Americans, Racial Stereotypes, and Elite University Admissions, 104(1) B.U. L. REV. 233 (2022).
Available at: UNM-DR

Can "Asians" Truly be Americans?, WASH. & LEE J. C.R. & SOC. JUST. (Forthcoming 2021).
Available at: SSRN

Racial Triangulation, Interest-Convergence, and the Double-Consciousness of Asian Americans, GA. ST. U. L. REV. (Forthcoming).
Available at: SSRN

"Trumping" Affirmative Action, 66 VILL. L. REV. TOLLE LEGE (Forthcoming 2020).
Available at: SSRN

Civil Rights Law in Living Color, 79(4) MD. L. REV. 881 (2020).
Available at: UNM-DR

Race-Conscious Admissions, Diversity, and Academic Freedom, 22 UNIV. PENN. J. CONST. L. ONLINE 101 (2019).
Available at: UNM-DR

“Safe Spaces” and the Educational Benefits of Diversity, 13 DUKE J. CONST. L. & PUB. POL'Y 117 (2017).
Available at: SSRN

Counterstereotypic Identity Among High-Achieving Black Students, 14(1) PERSPECTIVES URB. EDUC. 1 (2017).
Available at: SSRN

Victory is Defeat: The Ironic Consequence of Justice Scalia’s Death for Fisher v. University of Texas, 164 UNIV. PENN. L. REV. ONLINE 155 (2016).
Available at: SSRN

Defending the Constitutionality of Race-Conscious University Admissions, 9 ADVANCE: J. of ACS ISSUE BRIEFS 73 (October 2015).
Available at: SSRN

Narrowly Tailored but Broadly Compelling: Defending Race-Conscious Admissions After Fisher, 45 SETON HALL L. REV. 761 (2015).
Available at: SSRN

To Be White, Black, or Brown? South Asian Americans and the Race-Color Distinction, 14 WASH. UNIV. GLOBAL STUD. L. REV. 609 (2015).
Available at: SSRN

The Double-Consciousness of Race-Consciousness and the Bermuda Triangle of UniversityAdmissions, 17 UNIV.  PENN. J. CONST. L. 821 (2015).
Available at: SSRN

DesiCrit: Theorizing the Racial Ambiguity of South Asian Americans, 69 N.Y.U. ANN. SURV. AM. L. 77 (2013).
Available at: SSRN

Fisher’s Fishing Expedition,15 UNIV. of PENN. J. CONST. L HEIGHTENED SCRUTINY 57 (2013).
Available at: SSRN

From Roach Powder to Radical Humanism: Professor Derrick Bell’s “Critical” Constitutional Pedagogy, 36 SEATTLE UNIV. L. REV. xxiii (2013).
Available at: SSRN

Diversity Within Racial Groups and the Constitutionality of Race-Conscious Admissions, 15 UNIV. PENN. J. CONST. L. 463 (2012).
Available at: SSRN

Ambiguity, Ambivalence, and Awakening: A South Asian Becoming “Critically” Aware of Race in America, 11 BERKELEY J. AFR.-AM. L. & POL'Y 71 (2009).
Available at: SSRN

What Does “Acting White” Really Mean?: Racial Identity Formation and Academic Achievement among Black Youth, 1(1) PERSPECTIVES URB. EDUC. 1 (2002).
Available at: SSRN

Bar & Trade Publications

'Preservative of All Other Rights': Voting and Social Justice in the Post-Trump Era, CIVIL RIGHTS INSIDER (Winter 2021).
Available at: UNM-DR

Popular Press

Understanding the Nuances: Diversity Among Asian American Pacific Islanders, LSSSE In Blog (May 21, 2021).
Available at: UNM-DR

Racial Stereotypes, Respectability Politics, and Running for President: Examining Andrew Yang's and Barack Obama's Presidential Bids, RACE & L. PROFESSOR BLOG (June 14, 2020).
Available at: UNM-DR

Kamala Harris and the Complexity of Racial Identity Politics, RACE & L. PROFESSOR BLOG (December 29, 2019).
Available at: UNM-DR

Michael Vick, Robert Byrd, and the Case for Redemption, RACE & L. PROFESSOR BLOG (December 20, 2019).
Available at: UNM-DR

The Supreme Court and the Future of Affirmative Action, ISCOTUS NOW (October 24, 2019).
Available at: ISCOTUSnow

“Serving Two Masters” Revisited: Derrick Bell, Joe Biden, and the Paradox of Busing, RACE & L. PROFESSOR BLOG (July 4, 2019).
Available at: Race and the Law Prof Blog

Dreams From My Father, Dreams From My Mother: Tracing the Multiple Identities of Barack Obama and Kamala Harris, RACE & L. PROFESSOR BLOG (Feb. 23, 2019).
Available at: Race and the Law Prof Blog

Claiming the South--and All of Its History, RACE & L. PROFESSOR BLOG (Aug. 16, 2017).
Available at: Race and the Law Prof Blog

Why I am not “Asian” and Other Reflections on Asian American Identities, RACE & L. PROFESSOR BLOG (July 19, 2017).
Available at: Race and the Law Prof Blog

A Colorable Claim of Discrimination, RACE & L. PROFESSOR BLOG (Jan. 16, 2017).
Available at: Race and the Law Prof Blog

The Fishing Expedition is Over: Victory for Affirmative Action in Fisher v. Texas!, HIGHER EDUCATION L. BLOG (June 23, 2016).
Available at: HigherEducationLaw Blog (Cross-posted on five other blogs).

Theorizing Racial Ambiguity, RACE & L. PROFESSOR BLOG (Jan. 4, 2016).
Available at: Race and the Law Professor Blog

Still a Fishing Expedition: Will there be a Fisher III?, ISCOTUS NOW  (Dec. 14, 2015).
Available at: iSCOTUSnow

Climbing on the Backs of Others: A Critique of Randall Kennedy and Barack Obama’s Black Respectability Politics, 623 BLACK COMMENTATOR (Oct. 1, 2015).
Available at: Black Commentator

Diversity and Living Constitution Theory, ACS BLOG (Sept. 15, 2015).

Fisher v. Texas, The Remix, ISCOTUS NOW (July 18, 2015).
Available at: iSCOTUSnow

Affirmative Action Survives—For Now, CHICAGO-KENT FACULTY BLOG, (June 24, 2013).
Available at: Chicago-Kent Faculty Blog

Tribute to Professor Derrick Bell, DERRICK BELL OFFICIAL WEBSITE (Oct. 11, 2011).
Available at: Derrick Bell Website

Selected Presentations

Building Asian American and Black Solidarity for Racial Justice in Today’s America (May 2021).
Available at: UNM-DR

The Othering of the AAPI Community in America (April 2021).
Available at: UNM-DR

Loyola Constitutional Law Colloquium at Loyola University Chicago School of Law (November 2019).

Thirteenth Amendment and Racial Justice Conference at Chicago-Kent College of Law (November 2019).

Briefs

Brief for the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality et al. as Amicus Curiae, People v. Bridgeforth, 69 N.E.3d 611 (NY CT. APP. 2016) (co-counsel with Akin Gump LLP).
Available at: SeattleU SoL

Brief for the Legal Scholars Defending Diversity in Higher Education as Amici Curiae, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin II, 136 S.Ct. 2198 (2016) (U.S. SUP. CT. NO. 14-981) (co-counsel with Shakira D. Pleasant).
Available at: SSRN

In the News

Awards

Derrick A. Bell, Jr. Award (2017)
Awarded by Association of American Law Schools Section on Minority Groups to “a junior faculty member who, through activism, mentoring, colleagueship, teaching and scholarship, has made an extraordinary contribution to legal education, the legal system or social justice.”

Society of American Law Teachers Junior Faculty Award (2016)
Awarded by Society of American Law Teachers to “an outstanding recent entrant into legal education who demonstrates a commitment to justice, equality and academic excellence.”

Impact

Diversity Within Racial Groups and the Constitutionality of Race-Conscious Admissions, 15 UNIV. PENN. J. CONST. L. 463 (2012).

Quoted: Fisher v. University of Texas. at Austin II, 136 S.Ct. 2198, 2231 n.9 (2016) (Alito, J.).

Cited in eight U.S. Supreme Court amicus briefs in the Fisher litigation.

Cited in 24 law review articles as of June 2019.

Ambiguity, Ambivalence, and Awakening: A South Asian Becoming “Critically”Aware of Race in America, 11 BERKELEY J. AFR.-AM. L. & POL'Y 71 (2009).

Reprinted: 2 Critical Race Theory in Education: Major Themes in Education 93 (Adrienne D. Dixson et al. eds., 2018)

Cited: United States v. Mahbub, 818 F.3d 213, 224 n.12 (6th CIR. CT. 2016)

Cited: Defendant-Appellant in People v. Bridgeforth (NY CT. APP. 2016)

Narrowly Tailored but Broadly Compelling: Defending Race-Conscious Admissions After Fisher, 45 SETON HALL L. REV. 761 (2015).

Cited in three U.S. Supreme Court amicus briefs in Fisher v. Univ. of Tex. at Austin II, 136 S.Ct. 2198 (2016).

To Be White, Black, or Brown? South Asian Americans and the Race-Color Distinction, 14 WASH. UNIV. GLOBAL STUD. L. REV. 609 (2015).

Cited: Defendant-Appellant in People v. Bridgeforth, 69 N.E.3d 611 (N.Y. 2016).

Cited: Brief for Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality et al., People v. Bridgeforth, 69 N.E.3d 611 (NY CT. APP. 2016).

Fisher’s Fishing Expedition,15 UNIV. of PENN. J. CONST. L HEIGHTENED SCRUTINY 57 (2013).

Cited: Breif for Society of American Law Teachers, Fisher v. Univ. of Tex. at Austin II, 136 S.Ct. 2198 (2016).

DesiCrit: Theorizing the Racial Ambiguity of South Asian Americans, 69 N.Y.U. ANN. SURV. AM. L. 77 (2013).

Suggested reading Critical Race Theory: An Introduction 75 (Richard Delgado & Jean Stefancic eds., 3d ed. 2017).

Victory is Defeat: The Ironic Consequence of Justice Scalia’s Death for Fisher v. University of Texas, 164 UNIV. PENN. L. REV. ONLINE 155 (2016).

Reprinted: 28 APPELLATE ADVOCACY 227 (2016).