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Appeals court upholds lower court ruling that cleared Harvard of racial bias in admissions

A two-judge panel rejected the argument that the school of imposed a “racial penalty” on Asian Americans.

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Harvard University
Harvard University
(Mark Peterson / Getty Images)
Updated: November 12, 2020 - 11:55am

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

A federal appeals court on Thursday upheld a lower court ruling that cleared Harvard University of discrimination against Asian American applicants.

A two-judge panel on the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in Boston, rejected the argument from an anti-affirmative action group that accuses the school of imposing a “racial penalty” on Asian Americans, according to the Associated Press.

The decision puts the case closer to a possible Supreme Court review, legal experts say. 

In multiple decisions over decades, the high court has ruled colleges can consider race as a limited factor to promote campus diversity. But the practice faces mounting challenges in the courts, including three suits from Students from Fair Admissions, the plaintiff in the Harvard case, according to the wire service. 

In Thursday' decision, the judges concluded that Harvard’s admissions process passes legal muster and meets requirements previously created by the Supreme Court.

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