Kimberly West-Faulcon

Professor of Law
James P. Bradley Chair in Constitutional Law

Kimberly West-Faulcon, Professor of Law, James P. Bradley Chair in Constitutional Law

Courses Taught

  • Constitutional Law I
  • Constitutional Law II
  • Intelligence, Testing, and the Law
  • Principles of Social Justice
  • Employment Discrimination Law

Links

Education

  • BA, summa cum laude, Duke University, Phi Beta Kappa
  • JD, Yale Law School

‌Background

Professor Kimberly West-Faulcon teaches Constitutional Law I, Constitutional Law II, Intelligence, Testing and the Law and Employment Discrimination Law.She researches the legal implications of theories of intelligence and fair and proper use of standardized tests, antidiscrimination and constitutional law. Her work seeks to expose the theoretical and legal implications of modern research from the fields of psychology, statistics and psychometrics and bridge science and law to offer new insights into the study of intelligence. Her academic articles, which have been the subject of scholarly responses, news articles and opinion commentary, appear in highly regarded law journals, including the Journal of Constitutional Law, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, UCLA Law Review, Wake Forest Law Review and the Yale Law Journal.

Professor West-Faulcon graduated from Yale Law School where she was a senior editor of the Yale Law Journal.  After law school, she clerked for the Honorable Stephen R. Reinhardt on the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and was one of twenty-five law students selected annually from across the nation by the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, LLP to pursue a social justice legal project in the organization of her choice.  Beginning as a Skadden Fellow in the New York office of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc (“LDF”) in 1996, she went on to direct the Los Angeles office of the LDF from 1998 until 2005 as Western Regional Counsel and Director.  Professor West-Faulcon obtained her undergraduate degree Phi Beta Kappa from Duke University, where she graduated summa cum laude, receiving numerous academic honors including the Duke University Faculty Scholar Award and the University Rankin Award for Constitutional Law.  While an undergraduate, she studied the Political Economy and Economic History of Great Britain at Oxford University in Oxford, England. 

Professor West-Faulcon’s scholarship and teaching are grounded in her cutting edge career as a civil rights attorney and litigator, where her work focused on the legal standard for proper use of standardized tests in elementary, secondary and higher education.  Her cases include representation of African-American, Latino and Caucasian elementary and high school students in a legal challenge to a high stakes testing policy in Johnston County, North Carolina and African-American and Latino students asserting their interest in the test-based admissions policy of selective examination high schools in Boston, Massachusetts.  On the higher education level, Professor West-Faulcon sued UC Berkeley for discrimination in admissions on behalf of African-American, Latino and Filipino students after the elimination of race-based affirmative action on the theory that the institution’s overreliance on the SAT violated the U.S. Constitution and federal civil rights law. In addition to these testing-related education cases, she also litigated employment discrimination issues.  Professor West-Faulcon challenged discriminatory hiring and promotional practices as lead counsel for the African-American plaintiff classes in a successful multi-million dollar lawsuit against the clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch and represented African-American police officers in enforcement of the terms of a consent decree addressing race discrimination claims by African-American, Latino and Asian-American police officers challenging the promotion practices of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Featured in a 2011 exhibit at the Simon Wiesenthal Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles as a “Southern California Freedom’s Sister,” Professor West-Faulcon’s significant accomplishments have also been praised in the company of other successful lawyers and professionals.  In addition to her selection as a “Southern California Super Lawyer” in 2004, 2005, and 2006 and a “Rising Star Lawyer Under 40” in 2004 by Los Angeles Magazine, she was recognized In 1999 by the Los Angeles Daily Journal as one of the top lawyers under the age of 40 “making their mark in the legal world” and in the 1999 millennial issue of Ebony magazine as one of Ebony’s “Ten for Tomorrow” (along with Jesse Jackson, Jr., Lauryn Hill, Serena Williams, and Sean Combs) “who will almost certainly redefine their fields in the next millennium.”  Professor West-Faulcon has also been featured, quoted and interviewed extensively by national media such as CNN, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Chronicle of Higher Education and NPR and provided legal commentary in national media publications across the nation. She is a member of the State Bar of New York and California.  She has received additional bar admissions from the United States District Courts: Southern District of New York, Central District of California, Northern District of California and United States Courts of Appeal: First Circuit and Ninth Circuit.

* Although established by the NAACP, the LDF has been a separate and independent entity since 1940. LDF's founder and first Director-Counsel was the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.

Supreme Court Litigation Spotlight

Professor West-Faulcon solo-authored a Supreme Court amicus brief in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin.

The brief challenges the "mean test score fallacy" underlying the claim that differences in racial group average scores constitute proof of race discrimination against whites.

Supreme Court Amicus Briefs

Selected Scholarship 

  • "Reversed Protection: A Discrimination Claim Gone Wild in Fisher v. Texas," 6 UC Irvine L. Rev. __ (2017) (forthcoming).

Other Publications

  • “Randolph County: A Game of Discovery,” Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CCALI), Copyright 2003 (civil procedure instructional computer game) (with Owen M. Fiss and Ronald F. Wright).

Commentaries

  • "The Real Cheating Scandal of Standardized Tests," Miller-McCune, August 22, 2011.