William Consovoy, a leading conservative lawyer and founding partner of Consovoy McCarthy, has passed away at 48.
Recently we reported that William Consovoy, the attorney who has guided the challenges to Harvard’s and the University of North Carolina’s use of race-based affirmative action since they were filed in 2014, won’t attend the concluding Supreme Court hearing on October 31. The results of this round will determine whether or not the challenges can continue.
Consovoy’s lawyer, Thomas McCarthy, told CNN that Consovoy is getting treatment for brain cancer right now.
In September 2020, Consovoy, a well-known defender of conservative social concerns, spoke out against Harvard University’s admissions practices before a lower court of appeals in the United States. In addition, in the months leading up to the November 2020 election, he represented former President Donald Trump in several other state election law disputes.
According to a recent statement by the Consovoy McCarthy firm to the Supreme Court, Cameron Norris will present the case for the plaintiffs, Students for Fair Admissions, against Harvard. Patrick Strawbridge, another lawyer from the firm, will make oral arguments in the other litigation involving the University of North Carolina.
Justice Clarence Thomas and other conservative justices are opposed to affirmative action policies at universities and other policies that consider a person’s race. Consovoy, Norris, and Strawbridge were all Justice Thomas’s former law clerks at various points. According to Thomas, they disobey the Constitution’s equal protection clause and stigmatize the people they were meant to assist.
An increasingly conservative Supreme Court might reconsider the nation’s college admissions process in light of the parallel lawsuits filed against a prestigious public university and private institution. The goal of the action was to reverse a significant ruling rendered by the Supreme Court in 1978. This choice made it possible to consider a student’s race in addition to academic and extracurricular standards to promote campus diversity. The United States Supreme Court upheld this case, Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, in the 2003 case Grutter v. Bollinger, which originated at the University of Michigan.
Education opportunities for persons of color, such as African Americans, Hispanics, and other ethnic minorities, have increased over several decades as a result of the precedent set by the Bakke case. Judges in lower courts that relied on previously established standards rejected the accusations against Harvard and UNC. However, the high court may be more receptive to the objections given its current conservative-liberal balance.
Consovoy and McCarthy decided to go their separate ways and create their two-person firm after spending nearly eight years working together at a large Washington firm. Twenty attorneys are now involved, most of whom served as clerks for conservative justices and judges on lesser courts.
Norris has already appeared before all nine justices; she is 14 years younger than Consovoy, who is 48 years old. In the tax case CIC Services v. Internal Revenue Service, he testified before the Internal Revenue Service in 2020. He defended Trump in the case Trump v. Mazars, filed before a federal appellate court and involved financial papers between Trump and the US House of Representatives. Norris has additionally represented the Republican National Committee.
McCarthy mentioned that Consovoy’s cancer was found about two years ago, but she could not offer further details. He claims that Consovoy has said he will be listening to an audio webcast of the discussions on October 31 from his house in Virginia.