Image of Harvard University. A federal appeals court panel ruled Thursday that the university does not discriminate against Asian American students with its admission policy. Photo by Vlad Ivanchuk/Harvard University Instagram
Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Harvard University did not discriminate against Asian-American applicants in its admission process a First Circuit Appeals Court panel ruled Thursday, likely setting off a showdown at the U.S. Supreme Court.
The decision affirmed a ruling made in district court that Harvard's use of race in admissions was legal. In September, U.S. District Judge Allison Burrough turned back allegations by some Asian American students who claimed the school systematically discriminated against them with its holistic admissions policy.
"The issue before us is whether Harvard's limited use of race in its admissions process in order to achieve diversity in the period in question is consistent with the requirements of Supreme Court precedent," Appeals Court Judge Sandra Lynch in the ruling. "There was no error."
Harvard spokeswoman Rachael Dane said Harvard continues to stand by his admissions policy.
"Today's decision once again finds that Harvard's admissions policies are consistent with Supreme Court precedent, and lawfully and appropriately pursue Harvard's efforts to create a diverse campus that promotes learning and encourages mutual respect and understanding in our community," Dane said. "As we have said time and time again, now is not the time to turn back the clock on diversity and opportunity."
Students for Fair Admission, which brought the lawsuit against Harvard, hinted it will appeal to the Supreme Court. It will be the first affirmative action case for the new conservative-leaning court and Justice Amy Coney Barrett.
"While we are disappointed with the opinion of the First Circuit Court of Appeals, our hopeis not lost," Edward Blum, the president of the organization, said. "This lawsuit is now on track to go up to the U.S. Supreme Court where we will ask the justices to end these unfair and unconstitutional race-based admissions policies at Harvard and all colleges and universities."