A federal judge was right to clear Harvard University of discriminating against Asian American applicants.
The ruling is a major victory for affirmative action in college admissions across the nation. This is a victory for civil rights.
U.S. District Judge Allison D. Burroughs ruled that Harvard’s admissions process is “not perfect” but was constitutional. She said there was “no evidence of any racial animus whatsoever” and no evidence that any admission decision was “negatively affected by Asian American identity.”
The decision last week brings temporary relief to Harvard and other universities that consider race as a factor in admission to ensure campus diversity.
The ruling also sets the stage for a battle that some experts expect will go to the U.S. Supreme Court.
A group that opposes affirmative action said it would appeal.
Students for Fair Admissions filed a notice Friday with the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston. The group says it will appeal all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.
It is challenging a judge’s Tuesday ruling against all counts of the group’s 2014 lawsuit against Harvard.
The group says Harvard holds down the number of Asian Americans accepted to preserve a racial balance.
The Trump administration supported the lawsuit, which reignited a national debate over the use of race in college admissions.
Civil rights groups opposed the lawsuit against affirmative action.
“Today’s ruling rightly recognizes that race-conscious admissions is both lawful and indispensable for ensuring institutions are open and available to students from all walks of life, including racial minorities,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
Affirmative action is a remedy to decades of systemic and pervasive racist policies and practice against African Americans in colleges and the workplace. Affirmative action was later expanded to include other groups that have faced historic and persistent discrimination.
To remedy past discrimination, race must be considered in the present and future policies and practices. Affirmative action also recognizes that racism still exists in America.
Affirmative action is necessary to assist underrepresented groups in gaining wealth and power to help achieve equity in the future.
As U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmum wrote in 1978, “In order to get beyond racism, we must first take account of race. There is no other way. And in order to treat some persons equally, we must treat them differently.”
The goal of affirmative action programs is to reduce racial inequities.
Affirmative action has helped to diversify the nation’s elite colleges and work force.