Appeals Court Backs Harvard on Affirmative Action


The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit on Thursday backed Harvard University in a lawsuit over its admissions system.

“The issue before us is whether Harvard’s limited use of race in its admissions process in order to achieve diversity in the period in question is consistent with the requirements of Supreme Court precedent. There was no error,” said the appeals court. Specifically, the court ruled that Asian Americans were not discriminated against.

Its ruling upheld a lower court’s decision last year, but is certain to be appealed.

Edward Blum, president of Students for Fair Admissions, which sued Harvard, said, “While we are disappointed with the opinion of the First Circuit Court of Appeals, our hope is not lost. This lawsuit is now on track to go up to the U.S. Supreme Court where we will ask the justices to end these unfair and unconstitutional race-based admissions policies at Harvard and all colleges and universities.”

A spokeswoman for Harvard said: “Today’s decision once again finds that Harvard’s admissions policies are consistent with Supreme Court precedent, and lawfully and appropriately pursue Harvard’s efforts to create a diverse campus that promotes learning and encourages mutual respect and understanding in our community. As we have said time and time again, now is not the time to turn back the clock on diversity and opportunity.”

Inside Higher Ed will publish a full story on the appeals court’s decision tomorrow.

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