Today, Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA), an organization founded by conservative activist Ed Blum, filed a petition for a writ of certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court in their latest bid to overturn the Court’s long-standing precedent that race conscious admissions is legally permissible. This filing asks the Supreme Court to review and reverse decisions by a federal trial court and appellate court, which, after a comprehensive review of the record, confirmed the legality of Harvard’s race conscious admissions program. Those court decisions relied on more than 40 years of legal precedent from the Supreme Court, holding that race is an important and permissible consideration among many factors within a holistic admissions process for higher education in order to further the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body.
The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) represents 26 Harvard alumni and student groups of all racial and ethnic backgrounds who filed amicus curiae briefs in the courts below to voice their support for Harvard’s race conscious admissions practices and the diverse learning environment those practices strive to create on campus. The perspectives of these students and alumni helped showcase the importance of a diverse campus to the social, academic, and intellectual success of students.
“Two federal courts have faithfully applied 40 years of Supreme Court law to uphold Harvard’s race conscious admissions program, which fosters the student body diversity that is so essential to a 21st century education. SFFA’s latest appeal lays bare its true objective throughout this litigation—to upend the Supreme Court’s own decisions and foreclose laudable efforts to overcome persistent racial inequities in educational opportunities,” said Jin Hee Lee, Senior Deputy Director of Litigation at LDF, who argued before the court of appeal. “As demonstrated by last summer’s civil unrest, the COVID-19 pandemic, and last month’s insurrection, our country has a long road ahead to achieve racial equality. Equal educational opportunity for qualified, hard-working students of color is a crucial part of that effort.”
In response to SFFA’s filing today, the following Harvard alumni and student groups released the below statement: Harvard Latino Alumni Alliance; Association of Black Harvard Women; Harvard Progressive Jewish Alumni; Harvard-Radcliffe Asian American Association; 21 Colorful Crimson; Coalition for a Diverse Harvard; Harvard Phillips Brooks House Association; Native American Alumni of Harvard University; and Harvard-Radcliffe Black Students Association.
“We, the students and alumni of Harvard College, come from many different racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, religious, and geographic backgrounds, study many different subjects, and use our education to pursue many different career paths upon graduation. Across these different perspectives, we know from our personal experiences that Harvard’s holistic admissions practices create a rich learning environment for everyone. For this reason, and because we believe strongly that all students of every race deserve the chance to share their whole story in their college applications, we are unified in our support of race conscious admissions at Harvard. Attacks on affirmative action at our school and others across the country ignore the student and alumni experience, particularly of Black and Brown students. Despite the relentless attacks from SFFA, we will always continue to stand proudly together in support of what is right and just. The law is on our side.”
For more information about this case, visit defenddiversity.org.
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization. LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF. Follow LDF on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.