Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard

Ending discrimination against Asian-Americans at Harvard

Amicus Briefs > Equality Under the Law > Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard

Can Harvard University discriminate against Asian American applicants in its admissions process? Federal civil rights law requires Harvard, which accepts federal funding, to comply with the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Yet, last October, a federal district court held that Harvard’s admissions process, which puts Asian-Americans at a disadvantage, was legal.

In its friend-of-the brief, PLF is asking the First Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse the district court’s decision and end racial discrimination in higher education.

  • Every university applicant should be treated based on their individual merit; no one should be discriminated against because of their race.
  • Racial classifications are inherently arbitrary. The term “Asian” encompasses many different individuals comprising roughly 60 percent of the world’s population.
  • Harvard’s use of racial classifications perpetuates harmful stereotypes. Harvard’s admissions officers described Asian applicants as lacking in leadership, grit, and other factors that contributed to their low “personal ratings.”

Related Documents

PLF regularly participates as amicus curiae, or friend of the court, in cases brought by others. This supplements our direct representation cases by providing judges with unique, strategic, and helpful arguments to consider when crafting their opinions in related cases

Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard - AC Brief

April 21, 2020 Download

What’s at stake?

  • The civil rights of college applicants across the nation is at stake. The First Circuit’s decision will have ramifications for admissions in private and public universities throughout the United States.

Brief Authors

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