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

Harvard Asian Bias Trial Concludes, Waiting Begins

For the general public, the next few months may be a real test of the public's patience. That's because arguments, evidence, and post-trial motions, have been taken under submission by the Federal District Court in Massachusetts in the big Harvard anti-affirmative action case. Lawyers may be used to waiting for big decisions, but the public might be tested as one isn't expected until next year.

If you're a regular reader of our blogs, or manage to keep your finger on the pulse of national legal news, then you already know about this case and some of the juicy related controversies. If you're just waking up from a coma, or somehow managed to miss headlines, anti-affirmative action supporters are basically claiming that Asian-American students are given lower admissions scores because they are Asian; the school basically claims the students who have lower personality scores are just boring.

Experts at Odds

Not surprisingly, this case seemed to present rather divergent testimony from experts crunching and analyzing Harvard's admission data. And people clearly have strong opinions about those opinions.

Notably, as the university's expert noted, the data analysis used by the plaintiffs (the anti-affirmative action groups) relied upon incomplete numbers. In short, the plaintiffs' data excluded legacy students, the children of faculty, and student athletes, among others, whom it was argued, shouldn't be grouped with the general student population (as these students allegedly get additional weight in the application weighting process due to nepotism and school spirit/pride/boosters).

As described by NPR, one witness explained that what the plaintiffs in this case are seeking is "erasure" of race, which isn't a good thing. Colorblindness is not the absence of racism, but rather its own form of insidious racism.

Unfortunately, regardless of the result, it is highly anticipated that appeals will be filed, as neither side seems to be anywhere near accepting of the other's perspective.

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