For Immediate Release
Derrick Robinson, Lawyers’ Committee, DRobinson@LawyersCommittee.org, 202-662-8317
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law to Deliver Closing Arguments in SFFA v. Harvard
Boston, MA - Today, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law will deliver their closing arguments in Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) vs. Harvard in Federal District Court in Boston, MA in support of Harvard’s race-conscious holistic admissions policy and the importance of a diverse campus.
Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law offered the following statement:
“In today's America, students need to be prepared to succeed in an economy that is becoming increasingly diverse. In this case, we have offered overwhelming evidence that makes clear that diversity benefits students and helps prepare graduates to succeed in the world. While Harvard’s evidence regarding the implementation of their policies is key, it is the first-hand perspective and testimony of our clients that has truly helped to illuminate the issues at stake in this case and that have underscored the continuing need for campus diversity today.
“We reject Ed Blum’s latest attempt to eliminate race-conscious admissions policies, and condemn the polarizing and legally unsound strategy that he and his team of lawyers have employed in this case by using Asian Americans as a wedge minority.”
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, along with a coalition of other justice groups, entered the as a special “amicus plus” status, which allows the represented students to participate in oral argument and submit evidence, greatly enhancing their voices beyond a typical amicus brief. The coalition represents a cohort of racially diverse applicants, current students, and alumni at Harvard College and offers expertise to assist the court in its ruling.
The coalition asserts that ethno-racial diversity is crucial to students; not only educationally but also personally and professionally. It also explains that Harvard’s current admissions policy is in compliance with the Supreme Court in that it does not treat race as the primary consideration for admission, and that Harvard has a vested interest in promoting greater representation of, and diversity within, students of color through continued consideration of race.
Anti-affirmative action group Students for Fair Admissions originally brought this lawsuit against Harvard in 2014. It challenges Harvard’s race-conscious holistic admissions policy under claims that the policy intentionally discriminates against Asian American students and violates Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.
Closing arguments will begin at 1:30 pm at the Moakley Courthouse in courtroom 17 and both SFFA and Harvard will have up to 60 minutes for argument while amici groups “Students” and “Organizations” will be allowed for up to 15 minutes each.
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The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. The principal mission of the Lawyers' Committee is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice under law.