The Ivy Coach Daily

February 19, 2020

Appeal Filed in Harvard Case

An appeal has been filed in the SFFA v. Harvard University case.

A surprise to no one, the group that sued Harvard University alleging the school discriminates against Asian American applicants in the admissions process has filed an appeal in response to the ruling in favor of Harvard. That ruling in favor of Harvard was rendered four and a half months ago and as our readers may remember, while Harvard’s admissions practices did pass legal muster, Judge Allison Burroughs was clear in her ruling that the system was far from perfect. And, in their latest filing, the group seeking to end the practice of Affirmative Action by attacking Asian American discrimination in admissions at Harvard uses the very words in Judge Burroughs’ ruling to move the case forward — ultimately likely to the highest court in the land.

Group Opposing Affirmative Action Relies on Judge’s Own Words in Appeal Filing

As Anemona Hartocollis reports for The New York Times in a piece entitled “Affirmative Action Opponents Renew Their Battle Against Harvard,” “In their brief, however, the plaintiffs, Students for Fair Admissions, representing a group of Asian-American students rejected by Harvard, seized on the judge’s own critiques of Harvard’s admissions process to argue that she had too easily given the school the benefit of the doubt. They noted that in her decision, Judge Burroughs said that the analysis presented by the plaintiffs, which they said showed bias against Asian-American applicants, could be used to show possible ’implicit’ or unconscious bias in the system. But while the judge said she would ’not dismantle a very fine admissions program that passes constitutional muster, solely because it could do better,’ the plaintiffs urged the appeals court to do so. They interpreted the judge’s willingness to concede uncertainty on some of the points as evidence that there was ample room for a higher court to contest the ruling.”

Harvard Case Will Likely Head to Supreme Court

Of course, it’s no surprise that the group trying to overturn Affirmative Action — a group led by Edward Blum — would attempt to push the case forward by seizing on Judge Burroughs’ own words, particularly since she expressed misgivings about Harvard’s imperfect admissions practices in her decision. The group argues that Judge Burroughs didn’t factor in the statistical evidence of the discrimination that Asian American applicants face in Harvard’s admissions practices — instead zeroing in on the words of Harvard admissions officers who sought to defend their work.

Ivy Coach’s famously accurate crystal ball hereby forecasts that this case isn’t done just yet and that it will, in time, head to the Supreme Court. And with five conservative justices on the current court, that’s where things should get interesting.

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