Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA), an anti-affirmative action group, asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a key precedent that allows schools to consider race when choosing an entering class, The Washington Post reported.
The petition is part of SFFA's long-running challenge against Harvard University's admissions process.
In November, the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday affirmed a lower court decision that Harvard does not discriminate against Asian American applicants. SFFA originally filed suit against the institution in 2014, alleging that the university gives unfair preferences to black and Hispanic students in admissions decisions and intentionally discriminates against their white and Asian American peers.
The group's new petition asks the Supreme Court to overturn its 2003 Grutter v. Bollinger ruling that allows race-conscious admissions in higher education in the interest of achieving student body diversity, reported the Post. SFFA's challenge against Harvard is widely believed to become the Supreme Court's next opening to ban affirmative action.
While the Supreme Court has allowed colleges to narrowly use race in admissions for decades, SFFA could have favorable odds given the conservative majority on the high court.
"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," SFFA 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."
However, Harvard continues to argue that creating a diverse campus community is essential to its mission, the Post reported.
"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."
Meanwhile, SFFA also announced a new lawsuit against Yale University, alleging it intentionally discriminates against Asian American students in admissions, Inside Higher Ed reported. The U.S. Department of Justice in February dropped its Trump-era case against institution and SFFA had vowed to pick it up. Yale will continue to staunchly defend its admission practices.
The Washington Post
Inside Higher Ed