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Jeff Sessions Backs Asian Americans’ Discrimination Lawsuit Against Harvard

"Evidence indicates that a driving factor in Harvard’s admissions process... may be infected with racial bias against Asian Americans."

SessionsLEAH MILLIS/REUTERS/NewscomOn Thursday, the Justice Department announced its support of a lawsuit that alleges Harvard University's admissions policies discriminate against Asian-American applicants.

Harvard has asked the court to dismiss the case before trial. In a comprehensive Statement of Interest in the case, the Justice Department persuasively argues that the court should allow the lawsuit to proceed.

The plaintiffs, Students for Fair Admissions, Inc., contend that the deck is stacked against Asian Americans in a number of ways. Since Harvard consciously discriminates in favor of black and Hispanic applicants, students who happen to be Asian need to score higher on admissions tests and earn better grades than they would otherwise. If Harvard didn't consider race at all, Asian-Americans would constitute a much larger proportion of the student body.

Evidence has also emerged that admissions officials tend to underrate Asian-American applicants on purely subjective criteria. The Justice Department makes note of this issue explicitly.

"Direct and circumstantial evidence indicates that a driving factor in Harvard's admissions process, the vague and elusory 'personal rating,' may be infected with racial bias against Asian Americans," wrote Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore. "A fact finder could reasonably conclude that the personal rating at worst reflects racial stereotypes against Asian Americans and at best encompasses an intentional and unexplained use of race."

This practice calls to mind "the same kind of discrimination and stereotyping that [Harvard] used to justify quotas on Jewish applicants in the 1920s and 1930s," said Students for Fair Admissions, Inc., in a statement.

Even if Harvard wasn't deliberately singling out Asian-Americans and rejecting them wholesale due to perceived personality deficiencies, it's just impossible to reach any conclusion other than the obvious one: Race-conscious admissions policies create systemic barriers to admission for certain students due to their ethnicity.

The Center for Equal Opportunity released a study this week that found Asian-Americans would constitute 43 percent of Harvard's freshmen class if admissions were based solely on merit. But, "when nonacademic factors were included, the number of Asian admits would drop to 31% if varsity athlete and legacy status were taken into account; to 26%, if extracurriculars and the 'personal rating' were also added; and, finally, to 18% if race was used as a factor."

An academic institution that expects the world to take it seriously would do well to rid itself of all non-academic criteria. But the law is only concerned with the racial aspect of admissions. The Supreme Court has permitted schools to use affirmative action, but only if they have no other means of fostering a diverse student body. In this matter, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is correct: If Harvard intends to continue systematically disadvantaging Asian-American students, it should be forced to justify this practice in court.

Photo Credit: LEAH MILLIS/REUTERS/Newscom

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  • loveconstitution1789||

    Look where Sessions just paaaaaaaked his caaaaar.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    That reminds me, if I see R at church on Sunday, I have to drive him home so that I can introduce him to the guys at the off Broadway drug den. They liked my cookies. We're cool now.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    According to that popular documentary that was just released, Asians are both wealthy and mentally imbalanced.. As that what he's talking about?

  • Giant Realistic Flying Tiger||

    They're planning on making a sequel: Los Hispanos Locos mas Guapo y Rico y las Familias.

    It's a long titled, but they've got long names.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Those goddamned Asians keep ruining the narrative we've spent decades building on minorities.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    If only Hillary was president, she could have interned the Asians to silence them.

  • JWatts||

    "If only Hillary was president, she could have interned the Asians to silence them."

    Don't be ridiculous. Only FoxNews would have phrased it that way. They were placed into protective custody, of course.

  • Just Say'n||

    This lawsuit would go away if Harvard just said they were sowy

  • Cynical Asshole||

    That's "solly," you plick!

  • Just Say'n||

    Me so....solly?

  • Hamster of Doom||

    You belly bad man.

  • ||

    And offer free driving lessons.

  • ||

    The plaintiffs, Students for Fair Admissions, Inc., contend that the deck is stacked against Asian Americans in a number of ways. Since Harvard consciously discriminates in favor of black and Hispanic applicants, students who happen to be Asian need to score higher on admissions tests and earn better grades than they would otherwise. If Harvard didn't consider race at all, Asian-Americans would constitute a much larger proportion of the student body.

    I don't understand. I thought it was a melting pot and once documented all immigrants became Americans. That any strife over nation of origin or skin color dissolved away in an endless ocean of equal support of free speech, self-defense, private property rights, and self-ownership.

  • Cathy L||

    I thought it was a melting pot and once documented all immigrants became Americans. That any strife over nation of origin or skin color dissolved away in an endless ocean of equal support of free speech, self-defense, private property rights, and self-ownership.

    Yes, it's the immigrants' fault for being discriminated against. And it's because they don't share American values. Right.

  • TuIpa||

    Years. i have been lovong in your head for YEARS, you admitted sockpuppet.

  • Mark22||

    Yes, it's the immigrants' fault for being discriminated against. And it's because they don't share American values. Right.

    No, it's rather the Democrats and progressives that are at fault, and they certainly don't share American values.

  • ||

    Yes, it's the immigrants' fault for being discriminated against. And it's because they don't share American values. Right.

    So you don't deny that harmonious assimilation is the exception rather than the norm, you just insist that you know who's fault it is.

    Last time I checked, Harvard ran off of endowments and could deny access to anyone they wanted to. It's not like they plunked down a campus in Asia and started discriminating against Asians, they were firmly set in America and the Asians came to them.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    A map of Harvard campuses overseas indicates that they have a few campuses in Asia. Remember how progressives say we get bombed for being in countries we don't belong in? Do they apply the same logic to Harvard?

  • Fats of Fury||

    That's where Harvard sends it's laundry.

  • Cathy L||

    (PS, a bunch of the victims of this discrimination are native-born Americans, but obviously a racist like you would never consider that.)

  • Just Say'n||

    I think he's critiquing Harvard's paradoxical progressive position that immigrants are as American as anyone else, but people of different racial backgrounds should be treated differently. Easy on the casual declarations of racism.

    Also, Mindy Kaling's brother, I think is involved with the group that's suing and he is indeed native born

  • ||

    I think he's critiquing Harvard's paradoxical progressive position that immigrants are as American as anyone else, but people of different racial backgrounds should be treated differently.

    It's not just Harvard's paradoxical thinking. As we're frequently reminded, Reason routinely notes about how immigrants commit fewer crimes than native-born citizens (without regard to those citizens' races) and how throughout American history, immigrants have been nothing but a boon to flagging economies.

    You could argue that America's and even the Western world's worst and longest running social calamity has been the forced (im)migration of African 'nationals'. That all manner of terrible policies of all kinds, from the drug war to the affirmative action underpinning this case are the indirect result of people being displaced and forced to live somewhere else. But if you did that, you might have to recognize people's inherent tendency to self-segregate for entirely sensible reasons and it's much easier to pretend that borders are make believe and white people are always evil down to their very thoughts.

  • TuIpa||

    PS Yeeeeeeeeears!!

  • Hamster of Doom||

    He was mocking liberal racists, not agreeing with them. At least, that's how I read it.

  • Cathy L||

    Yes, he was mocking them by assuming that Asian-Americans are immigrants, and that immigrants aren't white.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    Look, if you're determined to read him as a caricature, I can't stop you and it'd be foolish to try. Have at. You'll frequently have misunderstands based on inaccuracies, but that isn't really a problem for ME, now is it.

    Shine on. *solidarity fist*

  • sharmota4zeb||

    Cathy gets to drink every time she sees racism. ;)

  • Just Say'n||

    Be a little more charitable toward commentators than you are toward Julie Borowski

  • ||

    Yes, he was mocking them by assuming that Asian-Americans are immigrants, and that immigrants aren't white.

    I didn't say anything about white people. I stated factually that America is a nation of immigrants, which it is. Harvard isn't a majority white university. Asian-Americans represent the second largest ethnic group. It's not at all unreasonable to assume that there are at least some Asians, maybe even recently immigrated, critically involved in the decision to raise the criteria for Asian admissions into Harvard. And if their goal is to make Harvard better with their own money and effort, why not? Are you going to side with Jeff Sessions against them?

  • sharmota4zeb||

    Do Armenians count as White Asians? What about the ethnic Albanians from families that lived in Turkey after the Turks enslaved them?

  • ||

    He was mocking liberal racists, not agreeing with them. At least, that's how I read it.

    Yeah, mistakenly assumed that I didn't need a sarc tag.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    You weren't entirely mistaken. Those who knew you understood you fine.

  • Mark22||

    Well, what about racists like you, Cathy? What do you consider?

  • Dillinger||

    >>>racial aspect of admissions

    stupid to have an aspect based on nothing.

  • UVaGrad||

    An academic institution that expects the world to take it seriously would do well to rid itself of all non-academic criteria.

    That ship sailed centuries ago.

  • Longtobefree||

    It seems you still think colleges are for learning, not indoctrination.

  • BYODB||


    it's just impossible to reach any conclusion other than the obvious one: Race-conscious admissions policies create systemic barriers to admission for certain students due to their ethnicity.


    No shit, affirmative action is systemic government mandated racism just as much as separate but equal was.


    The weird part is that if you're against racial quotas you are the one that is called a racist. Go figure. MLK is spinning in his grave. Pretty sure that Malcolm X is screaming with rage and laughing hysterically in equal measure in his.

  • Dillinger||

    >>>MLK is spinning in his grave

    word. mind-blowing.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    MLK is spinning in his grave.

    Believing that people should be judged based on the content of their character instead of the color of their skin is totes racist. /woke

  • Careless||

    MLK was pro-affirmative action

  • Mark22||

    Nobody knows whether he would support what we now call "affirmative action". And I don't see why we should give a damn either. MLK had an important historical role, that's all.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    I'm pretty sure he would; After your first compromise with principle, it gets easier.

    But, agreed, like the Founding fathers, we should remember him for the elevated principles he first espoused, not the way he fell far short of them.

  • Careless||

    This wasn't invented in 2012. It existed in the sixties. He was in favor of it. You should give a damn because it was in direct response to someone saying he'd be spinning in his grave over its existence.

    FFS, learn to read

  • Dariush||

    "It existed in the sixties"

    Sure and was affirmative action being used to discriminate against other minorities in the 1960's? It's a far cry different now than it was in MLK's time.

    FFS, learn to have a clue about what you're talking about.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Well, the original "affirmative action" was supposed to be making enormous efforts to recruit minority candidates, who were then supposed to be evaluated by non-racial criteria.

    But that was a bust almost immediately, so, yeah, as a practical matter "affirmative action" has meant racial discrimination for almost the entire time it's been around.

  • The Last American Hero||

    Indeed he was. But the part of MLK that resonates with Americans, the reason why every large city in the country has a street named after him, the reason he is the only American with his own holiday and the reason there is a statue of a Chinese man on the Washinton Mall is because of that line from that speech, and he is most definitely not a racist.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    MLK is NOT spinning in his grave. It was barely a year later that he gave up on that dream, and embraced racial discrimination in favor of blacks, and never looked back

  • damikesc||

    Yeah, people forget his message AFTER "I Have a Dream". His message, uh, "matured"

  • BYODB||

    Honestly, yes, this had indeed gone down the memory hole for me. Whoops! The 'I have a dream' speech is still an excellent thing to aspire to, regardless.

  • Dillinger||

    >>excellent thing to aspire to

    even if King faltered.

  • ||

    Yes. But don't venerate a mortal as if they're a god.

    Gandhi, Dalai Lama, Mandela. King, Mother Teresa....all had serious faults and questionable motives at times.

    Apparently, that's enough to get a holiday.

    Humans LOVE being deceived as long as they here 'tings' they like.

    Weird stuff.

  • Dillinger||

    >>>But don't venerate a mortal as if they're a god

    only you, Rufus.

  • ||

    Well, I do have the looks for one.

  • ||

    ugh. 'hear'.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    Don't be fooled by what the racist Drumpf regime is doing here. Make no mistake — although attacks on affirmative action are sometimes framed as helping Asian Americans, the real agenda here is to reinforce white supremacy. Anybody who's committed to racial justice, the progressive / libertarian alliance, and basic human decency must support a college admissions process that takes demographics into account.

    #LibertariansForDiversity

  • Echospinner||

    Affirmative Action is pure racism.

    Race does not really exist. There are geographic variations in DNA but those have nothing to to with what we call race.

    As if "Asian" was an actual thing.

    People are individuals. That is where libertarians need to keep a laser like focus. The crap Democrats and Republicans are using this to advance political agendas.

  • ||

    Race does not really exist.

    The entire human race would be surprised to learn this.

  • Echospinner||

    There is no such thing as a human race.

    Makes as much sense as a hamster race.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "There are geographic variations in DNA but those have nothing to to with what we call race."

    It's always a little jarring to watch someone in the grips of cognitive dissonance.

  • Azathoth!!||

    There are geographic variations in DNA

    This IS 'race'

  • vek||

    In truth what we describe as race is a little too broad. You could probably realistically get to perhaps a dozen or more valid genetic groupings that have close enough similarities to be useful for categorization. Scientists roughly did this in the 1800s, but some of it was on shaky ground. But stuff like there being at least 3 main groupings of Europeans, Arab/North African are a thing, etc all have been borne out by genetics testing.

  • Tom Dial||

    Racial Justice: use of perceived race to justify treating one person more favorably than another because of perceived race. In practice it is indistinguishable from racial bigotry.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    The Center for Equal Opportunity released a study this week that found Asian-Americans would constitute 43 percent of Harvard's freshmen class if admissions were based solely on merit. But, "when nonacademic factors were included, the number of Asian admits would drop to 31% if varsity athlete and legacy status were taken into account; to 26%, if extracurriculars and the 'personal rating' were also added; and, finally, to 18% if race was used as a factor."

    So, what is their actual percentage? (22.2%) That would have been nice to include since the entire premise of the lawsuit is that Harvard is discriminating against Asians based on race.

  • Careless||

    yeah, most of these schools capped Asian admissions at around 20%

  • Echospinner||

    It is a better lawsuit from what I gather.

    It sidesteps the question of a pure race based goal in admissions as a seperate factor.

    The lawsuit specifically targets Harvard so the plaintiffs can avoid larger political issues.

    Race should never be a factor but leave that out for now. Race does not really exist but...

    They claim that other subjective factors in the inclusion of 'community rating' are arbitrary and biased. They are.

    In this they can win.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    "to 26%, if extracurriculars and the 'personal rating' were also added;"

    Keep in mind that one of the ways they're being discriminated against is that "personal rating"; According to Harvard evaluators, Asian-Americans tend to have really toxic personalities.

    So toxic, they can tell without meeting them!

  • Benitacanova||

    Yet they accepted sara jeong...

  • damikesc||

    Perhaps their views were based on her?

  • Fats of Fury||

    And If they had a driving test we're back to 0%.

  • Careless||

    I just don't see how you can allow "you can discriminate in favor of students with inferior academic qualifications" (keeping affirmative action legal) and still rule in favor of the Asian students here.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    We'd have to be explicit that merit doesn't matter, and whites are discouraged.

    Honest marketing is bad marketing.

  • Homple||

    The DOJ let the chloroform wear off and when Sessions woke up he forgot to recuse himself. So here we are.

  • Longtobefree||

    If you consider race, you are racist.

  • Dillinger||

    this.

  • Mark22||

    I'm wondering why people should even care. Do you really want to attend Harvard these days? Why?

  • Echospinner||

    Personally I agree. It is over rated.

  • Rich||

    Do you really want to attend Harvard these days? Why?

    I keep hearing that the networking is worth the price of admission.

    Of course, that may have been diminished since Facebook.

  • ||

    Of course, that may have been diminished since Facebook.

    Clearly you haven't used Facebook. They aren't the same product. Harvard may not be worth the price, but the price is still nowhere near 'Free as long as we can spy on you.'

  • sharmota4zeb||

    Ummmm what do you think an academic transcript is? It is based on the thoughts you put on paper for professors to read over 4 years.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Hey, if "gays" can search far and wide for unwilling bakers to demand cakes from, why can't people apply to Harvard just to sue them? What's sauce for the goose...

  • Sigivald||

    As suggested elsewhere, "the way to stop discriminating by race is to stop discriminating by race".

  • sparkstable||

    I've been called a racist for making that point so many times I've lost count.

  • Shirley Knott||

    Harvard is just applying grade and test score based tariffs on admissions.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Please tell me I'm not the first to make a show of complaining that this is probably only because Sessions has Asian grandchildren.

  • Uncle Jay||

    Harvard, and other institutions of higher indoctrination in America, must discriminate against certain races in order to show the world they are not discriminating against certain races.
    It's all very logical to every proggie oppressor out there.

  • Shirley Knott||

    But they assure us they're working on it and won't rest until every race is above average.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    :)

  • buybuydandavis||

    "The Supreme Court has permitted schools to use affirmative action, but only if they have no other means of fostering a diverse student body."

    Shorter: Racial quotas a-ok if they're anti white.

  • John C. Randolph||

    A reasonable remedy for this discrimination would be first, to make Harvard refund any application fees paid by Asian students who weren't accepted, and then to pay punitive damages to the plaintiffs amounting to about half of Harvard's endowment. That should be enough to deter any recurrence.

    -jcr

  • Presskh||

    At least Sessions has finally awakened from his coma.

  • vek||

    Yeah, this stuff is BS. The fact is there would be a lot more Jews, Asians, and whites are university if they weren't being reverse discriminated against.

    Personally I'm of the mind that letting in sub par black/hispanic/whoever students into colleges that are too challenging for them ultimately doesn't serve them well either. Keep in mind the black guy that gets into Harvard isn't some idiot who still flunked pre-algebra in 12th grade, they're smart guys... But just not Harvard smart. If they went to a top state school etc that was in line with where they were actually at, they would ultimately do better by not being pushed beyond what they're capable of. People have done studies and come to this conclusion, which makes sense.

    I've said for years though that Asians might be the group that finally breaks this affirmative action BS. They're A. Not white. B. They're being discriminated against for the same reasons whites are, to make room for others that don't have their shit together.

  • Deplorable Victor||

    Good deal. Harvard is a leftwing shithole.

  • Arn0||

    Harvard is a private entity, and libertarians usually never forget to say that private entity should have the right to discriminate.

    I know that Harvard is massively funded and regulated by the state, but defending the right to discriminate against black without defending the right to discriminate against asian or white people is kind of disturbing to me.

  • vek||

    How is anybody defending the right to discriminate against blacks, but not others?

    Blacks DO NOT have the academic scores to gain entry into any college in the USA at the rates they currently do. They have far and away the worst grades, test scores, etc out of any ethnic/racial group. By merit they should be in colleges at rates vastly lower than their proportion of the population. Same with all other affirmative action stuff, including things with women. In order to cram in more minorities/women men and whites/Asians have to be discriminated against.

    The crux of the issue is this: If we're going to have anti-discrimination laws, then they need to be fairly and equally applied. Colleges currently do not do this. They discriminate against whites/Asians, and men.

    If we're going to restore FULL freedom of association, then Harvard can do as they please... But since we have anti-discrimination laws on the books, they're breaking them with their actions.

    I think most libertarians would prefer full freedom of association, and no anti-discrimination laws... But if we're stuck with them, I'll be damned if they're going to abuse them and screw over other groups like whites/Asians. The whole system is already stacked against men, and white/Asian/Jewish men bear the brunt of this as they are the most successful.

  • vek||

    We can't keep letting them ratchet this insanity up further and further. It needs to stop. If pointing out the insanity of one minority group being discriminated against in favor of another minority group gets that done, then good, since people just ignore everything when it is only slanted against whites for some nonsense reason.

  • VangelV||

    When will the NFL players take a knee for discrimination against Asians? They get shafted during the admissions process. They get shafted when it comes to working as policemen, firemen, postmen, and other government jobs. They are underrepresented in the political sphere. No wonder Asians are doing so poorly in American society.

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