As Supreme Court Decides to Hear SFFA v. Harvard and SFFA v. UNC, 

Asian American Civil Rights Orgs Affirm Race-Conscious College Admissions Expand Opportunities for All Students of Color
For Immediate Release
Michelle Boykins (202) 296-2300, ext. 0144

WASHINGTON, D.C. Asian Americans Advancing Justice, an affiliation of five independent Asian American civil rights organizations, affirms its support for race-conscious college admissions and releases the following statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to hear SFFA v. Harvard and SFFA v. UNC:

“Amid a national reckoning with anti-Asian racism, we know that discrimination is not a relic of the past and continues to pervade and distort the lived experiences for people of color in this country every day. Affirmative action, diversity, and anti-discrimination programs, are essential to opening up opportunities for women and people of color, including Asian Americans, in higher education and all aspects of public life, and have been foundational building blocks for a more just and equitable society.  

“We still need these programs. The reality is that race continues to unfairly limit educational opportunities for students of color. Even after Brown v. Board of Education, schools in Black and brown communities are too often neglected and K-12 schools are severely segregated by race and ethnicity.

“Cold numerical indicators like grade point averages and standardized test scores capture and magnify these inequalities. Contrary to measuring merit, universities have increasingly recognized that standardized test scores are poor predictors of future academic success and have a troubling record of racial bias. In order to fairly assess the meaning of these numerical indicators, we need to consider the whole person, including race and our full life experience, as part of what we bring to any table.

Seventy percent of Asian Americans support affirmative action. We reject the use of Asian Americans as proxies to attack the constitutionality of race-conscious programs. Race-conscious programs should not be conflated with racial quotas or other forms of unlawful discrimination. As we stand against anti-Asian racism and all forms of white supremacy, we are united with other civil rights advocates and students of color against further exclusion and segregation and for an education system in which all students have opportunities to learn, grow, and thrive.”

Background: Advancing Justice Affiliation Support for Race-Conscious Admissions

In 2020, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC on behalf of the Advancing Justice affiliation, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Lawyers For Civil Rights and pro bono counsel Arnold & Porter filed an amicus brief to the First Circuit on behalf of a group of Asian Americans and other students of color at Harvard who support race-conscious admissions. In their testimony before the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts, represented by Advancing Justice-Los Angeles and other co-counsel, these same students shared how consideration of race safeguards against discrimination and ensures candidates’ full life experience can be shared and recognized. 

In California, Advancing Justice - Asian Law Caucus and Advancing Justice - LA have joined with civil rights organizations and communities to repeal Proposition 209, which has prevented equal opportunity in state contracting, hiring and education and has led to the resegregation of campuses and workplaces across the state.