Appeals Court Rules In Favor Of Harvard, Rejects Discrimination Claims

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — A panel of two judges in the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston upheld a decision on Thursday, that clears Harvard University of claims of discrimination against Asian Americans in the application process.

According to the Associated Press, the lawsuit was brought in 2014 by the anti-affirmative action group Students For Fair Admissions, which argued that the Ivy League school imposed a "racial penalty" on Asian American applicants.

The appeals court upheld an earlier district court decision, which found that Harvard does not place outsized emphasis on race, and instead considers all types of diversity.

In the past the U.S. Supreme court has ruled that colleges can use race as a factor in admissions in order to foster more diversity on campus through affirmative action policies.

One of the more recent cases being Fisher v. University of Texas, a 2016 case in which a white woman who was rejected from the Texas school claimed that the use of race in admissions was in violation of the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and was therefore unconstitutional.

In that case the court ruled that the university’s policy met the standard of "strict scrutiny," and that a school should be given "reasonable leeway in its review process" if it has considered other ways to create diversity on campus as well.

Thursday's decision potentially moves the case against Harvard closer to a review by the U.S. Supreme Court, as the University continues to deny any allegations of discrimination, and argues that race does not count against any applicant in the admissions process.

The AP reports that some legal scholars believe the high court will taken on the case, and both parties are in preparation for that outcome.

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