U.S. First Circuit - The FindLaw 1st Circuit Court of Appeals News and Information Blog

DOJ Supports Anti-Affirmative Action Group Suing Harvard

In the big anti-affirmative action case playing out in a federal court in Boston, recently the federal Department of Justice announced its support for the plaintiffs in the case against Harvard.

If this case has managed to fly under your radar, the facts might sound a little confusing. But to sum it up, an anti-affirmative action organization has sued Harvard on behalf of Asian students claiming Harvard's race based admissions harm Asian students and violate federal nondiscrimination laws. The case is slated to go to trial this October.

What's Going On?

As reported by the L.A. Times, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the DOJ's support for the plaintiffs in the case, and the department filed a brief in support. That brief explains the department's position that Harvard engages in illegal race discrimination by using "subjective personality ratings" which in effect, allegedly, harm Asian American applicants' overall scores and chances at admission. As explained in the Times piece, the move from the DOJ is consistent with the pull back on the strides made for civil rights by the Obama administration.

While the president for the organization bringing the case, Students for Fair Admissions, was pleased with the DOJ's support, the president and executive director for the Lawyers Committee on Civil Rights, Kristen Clarke, had a different view. She explained: "This is a Justice Department that has fully abandoned its mission and is now waging an all-out assault on efforts to promote diversity."

Regardless of how the case plays out, it is expected that there will be appeals until there can be no more appeals.

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