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Appeals court debates fate of Harvard's affirmative action policies

September 16, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS - JULY 08: A view of Harvard Yard on the campus of Harvard University on July 08, 2020 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology have sued the Trump administration for its decision to strip international college students of their visas if all of their courses are held online. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

US Appeals Court Judge Sandra Lynch pounded lawyers challenging Harvard's affirmative action policies on Wednesday, implicitly disputing their claims of bias against Asian American students and assertions of Supreme Court precedent.

(CNN)US Appeals Court Judge Sandra Lynch pounded lawyers challenging Harvard's affirmative action policies on Wednesday, implicitly disputing their claims of bias against Asian American students and assertions of Supreme Court precedent.

"You started out by saying that the Harvard system is intentionally discriminatory because it uses subjective criteria," Lynch, the most vocal of the three judges hearing the case, told William Consovoy, representing the challengers to Harvard.

Lawyer Seth Waxman, representing Harvard, said the admissions rates for Blacks, Hispanics, Asian Americans and others have sufficiently varied over the years to demonstrate individual assessments and conform to Supreme Court precedent.

One point of contention is Harvard's use of a "personal" score, in addition to academic and extracurricular ratings, that SFFA challengers say allows admissions officials to enhance the prospects of Black and Hispanic applicants and disadvantage Asian Americans.

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