The Department of Justice on Thursday sided with Asian-American students suing Harvard University over affirmative action policies.
The Department said in a court filing that the school has failed to demonstrate that it does not discriminate on the basis of race.
The lawsuit was filed back in 2014 when a group called Students for Fair Admissions alleged that the ivy league is “employing racially and ethnically discriminatory policies and procedures in administering the undergraduate admissions program.”
The Department argued that the university hasn’t explained how it uses race in admissions and has not adopted meaningful criteria to limit the use of race.
Attorney General Jeff Session also said in statement that the school’s use of a “personal rating,” which includes highly subjective factors such as being a “good person” or “likeability,” may be biased against Asian-Americans. The Attorney General called such attempts to ‘racially balance’ the makeup of a student body ‘patently unconstitutional.”
The Justice Department’s court filing opposes Harvard’s request to dismiss the lawsuit before trial. The department is separately investigating Harvard’s admissions policies, a probe that could also result in a lawsuit.
With files from the Associated Press
Hans A. von Spakovsky, former counsel to the assistant attorney general for civil rights at the Department of Justice in the George W Bush White House; senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation; he tweets @HvonSpakovsky
Brenda Shum, director of the Educational Opportunities Project at the nonprofit, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; the group filed an amicus curiae brief in this case to support the defendant’s motion for summary judgment in the lawsuit challenging Harvard’s race-conscious holistic admissions policy