The Biden administration is taking the side of Harvard University in its active discrimination of Asian Americans and has asked the Supreme Court to turn away a legal fight brought on by a group of Asian American students who argue that the University’s admissions process violates civil rights law.
The Biden administration’s move to support the Ivy League university is a total reversal of the Trump administration’s support for the legal battle. In 2018, the Trump administration offered a major boost to the group of students, LA Times reported.
The suit, which was filed by Students for Fair Admissions, is a bellwether case that has the potential to reshape affirmative action policies in American universities and colleges.
According to the lawsuit, the Asian American students were rejected from Harvard based on their race. The Supreme Court asked the Justice Department in June to weigh in on the lawsuit, to hear their appeal of a lower court decision that upheld Harvard’s discriminatory practices.
On Wednesday, the Biden administration filed a brief with the Supreme Court urging it to deny the petition. The administration claimed there “was no sound reason” to take up the case. Indeed, the Biden administration went so far as to reverse the government’s position and is fully backing the university and its anti-Asian policies.
Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar informed the court that the group of Asian Americans and their lawsuit “cannot justify that extraordinary step” of repealing the 2003 decision that enables colleges and universities to use race as a factor in admissions. Prelogar argued that the case is a “poor vehicle” to reconsider affirmative action.
Under affirmative action-related policies, colleges and universities — as well as private corporations and other institutions — are allowed to discriminate on the basis of race for the benefit of black people and Native Americans. Such policies have been used and abused by people as high up in the government as Senator Elizabeth Warren, who claimed to be 1/1024th Cherokee to attain lofty positions in Harvard Law School and the University of Pennsylvania, Boston.com reported.
The Justice Department claims that the Supreme Court has cited Harvard’s approach to admissions in its decisions that addressed other institutions’ policies for four decades.
“Those decisions have invited colleges and universities to rely on the permissibility of a holistic, flexible approach like Harvard's as a benchmark in structuring their own admissions policies,” Prelogar wrote. “It would profoundly unsettle expectations to declare retroactively that such reliance subjects those institutions to Title VI liability.”
The challenge to Harvard's admissions policies by the Asian American applicants is the latest that seeks to end affirmative action in college admissions. Students for Fair Admissions was founded by Edward Blum, who has led numerous legal battles challenging race-conscious admissions policies and opposes affirmative action.
In this case, the students sued Harvard in 2014 and alleged its admissions process violates Title VI of the Civil Rights Act by penalizing Asian American applicants. Students for Fair Admissions, which now has roughly 20,000 members, claims Harvard intentionally discriminates against Asian American students by assigning them lower personal ratings than other races while reviewing applications and limiting the number of Asian Americans it admits.
The Supreme Court could potentially decide in early 2022 whether to address the affirmative action case.