The Supreme Court may consider a case over Harvard University's alleged discrimination against those of Asian descent in its admission process.
The Students for Fair Admissions, a conservative advocacy group, appealed to the Supreme Court after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit ruled that the Ivy League college does not discriminate. Initially, the group sued the university back in 2014, claiming Harvard had violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act for holding Asian students to different standards such as judging them on "likability," "courage," and "kindness" instead of academic performance for admissions.
The group's petition to the Supreme Court alleges that its treatment of Asians is "appalling." "Harvard penalizes them because, according to its admissions office, they lack leadership and confidence and are less likable and kind. This is reason enough to grant review." The petition also called for overturning Grutter v. Bollinger, a 2003 case that held that colleges could make race a factor in regards to admissions.
According to the Washington Examiner, the group's attorneys suggested that the decision to overturn Grutter would stifle affirmative action. "Grutter's core holding — that universities can use race in admissions to pursue student-body diversity — is plainly wrong," the attorneys wrote.
Harvard, last week, denied allegations from the Students for Fair Admissions, stating the group was only pursuing the case to score political points.
According to a brief, the federal government decided that Harvard had indeed penalized Asians during the admission process. "Harvard meticulously tracks and shapes the racial makeup of its emerging incoming class throughout the process, continuously comparing the new class's racial composition with that of the previous year. This overt engineering of racial stasis bears no resemblance to the flexible, non-mechanical 'plus' factor that the Supreme Court's cases to date have permitted. The evidence also showed that Harvard's process has repeatedly penalized one particular racial group: Asian Americans. Indeed, Harvard concedes that eliminating consideration of race would increase Asian-American admissions while decreasing those of Harvard's favored racial groups."
The court scheduled the case for its Thursday conference on Tuesday. If four justices agree that the case should be taken up, it could be heard as early as next fall.
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