The conservative-funded Students for Fair Admissions group is taking its legal challenge to Harvard’s consideration of race in student admissions to the Supreme Court.
The Washington Post reports that on Thursday, the group filed a petition to the Supreme Court asking for the overturn of 2003's Grutter v. Bollinger ruling, in which the court found that considering race in higher education admissions is lawful and allows for diverse student bodies.
SFFA’s bid to the Supreme Court comes after a U.S. Appeals Court last year affirmed a lower court’s ruling that it is not discriminatory for Harvard to use race as one of several factors in evaluating students for undergraduate admission.
In a lawsuit filed in 2014, SSFA alleged that Harvard’s admission practices unfairly enhance Black and Latino students’ chances for acceptance and disadvantages Asian Americans.
Though billed as a student advocacy group defending the rights of Asian American students, SFFA was actually created and is headed by Edward Blum, a white conservative strategist who has spent decades targeting civil rights laws that benefit African Americans. According to the ACLU, Blum was behind Shelby County v. Holder, the 2013 case that successfully gutted protections under the Voting Rights Act. He was also behind Abigail Fisher’s unsuccessful case in 2016, when the white woman claimed that her lack of admittance to the University of Texas was because of affirmative action.
By now pitting minorities against each other, Blum is continuing his mission of eradicating policies that recognize the legacy of structural racism in America.
From the Washington Post:
“After six and one-half years of litigation, the hundreds of Asian-American students who were unfairly and illegally rejected from Harvard because of their race may soon have this lawsuit reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court,” the group’s president, Edward Blum, said in a statement. “It is our hope that the justices will accept this case and finally end the consideration of race and ethnicity in college admissions.”
Harvard continues to argue that creating a diverse campus community is essential to its mission.
“As earlier court decisions have confirmed, our admissions policies are consistent with Supreme Court precedent,” the university said in a statement. “We will continue to vigorously defend the right of Harvard College, and every other college and university in the nation, to seek the educational benefits that come from bringing together a diverse group of students.”
The Supreme Court upheld the limited use of race in university admissions the last time it considered the issue in 2016.
The Supreme Court has yet to announce whether it will hear SFFA’s case, but with a conservative majority on the bench, it is not inconceivable that race-conscious college admissions could be on the chopping block.