Biden administration U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth B. Prelogar backed Harvard’s race-conscious admissions process in a brief filed to the Supreme Court Wednesday, following a challenge to affirmative action laws.
The brief: Prelogar asked the Court to reject the appeal of the Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) anti-affirmative action petition, which argues Harvard’s race-conscious admissions processes violate federal law.
- According to The Harvard Crimson, the Supreme Court had previously requested that Prelogar file a brief outlining the Biden administration’s view on the case in June.
- The brief outlines that the lower court’s ruling in favor of Harvard applied Supreme Court precedent correctly and that SFFA’s case would be a “poor vehicle” for reconsidering the Supreme Court’s 2003 landmark ruling in Grutter v. Bollinger, where the use of race in higher education admissions practices was determined constitutional.
- “The court of appeals correctly applied this Court’s precedents, and its decision neither conflicts with any decision of another court of appeals nor otherwise satisfies this Court’s certiorari standards,” wrote Prelogar.
Responses of involved parties: Both Harvard University and SFFA have reacted to the conclusion made in the U.S. Solicitor General’s brief.
- Harvard spokesperson Rachael Dane wrote in an emailed statement to The Harvard Crimson that the University “strongly agrees” the lower courts’ rulings do not warrant further review.
- “The United States rightly reaffirms that all universities, including Harvard, should have the freedom and flexibility to consider race, as one factor among many, to create the diverse campus communities essential to their educational missions and to the success of their students in the workplace and the world,” Dane wrote to The Harvard Crimson.
- “Now is not the time to reverse the unequivocal decisions of two federal courts reinforcing 40 years of Supreme Court precedent,” she added.
- SFFA President Edward J. Blum, meanwhile, said in a statement to The Harvard Crimson on Wednesday that Prelogar’s brief “regrettably advocates for the continuation of racial classifications and preferences in college admissions.”
- Blum said he hopes the Supreme Court accepts the Harvard case to stop the “polarizing” and “unconstitutional” use of race in the college admissions process.
SFFA first filed suit against Harvard in 2014, arguing that Harvard’s race-conscious admissions practices discriminate against Asian Americans and violate Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. SFFA filed the petition requesting the Supreme Court hear the case in February, and Harvard filed its opposing brief in May.
Featured Image via Harvard Law School (left), Getty (right)