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Court of Appeals sides with Harvard in race discrimination lawsuit

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Mary Rose Corkery, DCNF

Two First Circuit Court of Appeals judges ruled Thursday that Harvard University’s admissions process did not violate civil rights of Asian-Americans, Reuters reported.

The decision comes after the court heard arguments less than two months ago and upholds a decision from District Court Judge Allison D. Burroughs which favored Harvard after the case was heard in October 2018, Reuters reported.

The circuit court decided the plaintiffs, the Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA), had standing for the lawsuit, but affirmed Harvard’s admission processes, the Harvard Crimson reportedHarvard spokesperson Rachael Dane applauded the decision in an email to students.

“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,” Dane wrote, the Harvard Crimson reported.

“As we have said time and time again, now is not the time to turn back the clock on diversity and opportunity,” Dane continued, The Harvard Crimson reported.

SFFA first sued Harvard in 2014, alleging they discriminated against Asian-Americans in their admissions processes, Reuters reported. Harvard denied the allegations and said they legally promote diversity.

Burroughs ruled although Harvard’s admissions system wasn’t perfect, there weren’t any “‘workable and available race-neutral alternatives’” to guarantee a diverse student body, Reuters reported. U.S. Circuit Judge Sandra Lynch cited Supreme Court cases that universities can consider race.

Chief Judge Jeffrey R. Howard and Judge Sandra L. Lynch of The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled Thursday that Burroughs determined essential components correctly, the Harvard Crimson reported, including Harvard had considered race-neutral alternatives and it didn’t engage in racial balancing.

“While we are disappointed with the opinion of the First Circuit Court of Appeals, our hope is not lost,” Edward Blum, president of SFFA, said in a statement provided to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“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,” Blum said.

Harvard University did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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