Opinion: What Took Yale Law So Long?


The appointment of Cristina Rodríguez to be first Hispanic tenured professor at Yale Law School at first glance seems important but a closer look reveals an underlying question: why did it take so long?
That’s the view of Angelo Falcón, President and Founder of the National Institute for Latino Policy. He writes in an opinion piece at NBC Latino, “Of the 65 faculty positions at Yale Law, there are currently only two Latinos. Yale Law clearly has a long way to go before achieving anywhere close to a critical mass in its faculty diversity overall. In terms of Cristina Rodríguez, they need to be sure that she not become, in Rachel Moran’s phrase, a ‘Society of One.’”
As Falcón observes, “To their credit, Yale Law has produced some stellar Latino attorneys such as: Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor ’79, Supreme Court of the United States; Thomas A. Saenz ’91,MALDEF President and General Counsel; Fordham Law School Professor Tanya K. Hernandez ‘90; and Honorable José A. Cabranes ’65, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit” among others.
He concluded, “However, after thinking about it, I had to remind myself that this is 2013 and that it literally took Yale Law, what, 189 years to appoint a Latino/a to their tenured faculty? At this rate, well, you do the math!
In a broader sense, her appointment, and the lack of diversity that surrounds it, raises this troubling question for me: Is this what they mean by a “post-racial” society? Perhaps, as President Obama recently pleaded with critics of his current Cabinet appointments, we will need to give an answer to this question more time, but, quite frankly, I ain’t holding my breath.”