College admissions SCOTUS case is about Anti-Asian discrimination, lawmakers argue in brief

Eighty-two Republicans filed an amicus brief to the Supreme Court backing the plaintiffs in an upcoming case that will challenge affirmative action policies used in college admissions.

The amicus brief argues that affirmative action policies are discriminatory against Asian-American applicants.

Eighty-two Republicans filed an amicus brief to the Supreme Court of the United States backing the plaintiffs in an upcoming case that will challenge affirmative action policies used in college admissions.

The Supreme Court will hear jointly Students for Free Admissions' (SFFA) lawsuits against Harvard University and the University of North Carolina next term. 

The May 9 brief was led by Congresswoman Michelle Steel (R- CA) and Senator Ted Cruz (R- TX).  The lawmakers argue that Harvard University and the University of North Carolina discriminate against Asian-American applicants in the admission process by unconstitutionally prioritizing race as a factor of admittance. 

"Respondents' admissions policies intentionally divide applicants by race. In doing so, they harm Asian-American students and others, who are unfairly judged by their race rather than by individual merit," the brief argues. "Under the Fourteenth Amendment and Title VI, those policies cannot stand."

[RELATED: University deactivates link to race-specific application after news report]

SFFA President Edward Blum told Campus Reform that the organization is grateful for the legislators’ support.

Students for Fair Admissions is deeply grateful and honored to have over 30 amicus briefs filed in support of our cases and the colorblind legal principles for which we stand,” he added.

The brief was filed by other prominent Republicans in both chambers, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, and Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik.

"Elite universities like Harvard and the University of North Carolina are denying admission to qualified students because of race," Scalise told Campus Reform

"Their emphasis on subjective rating systems and the applicant's race instead of academic performance ignores the equal protection granted to all citizens under the law and should alarm every American who believes that hard work and merit are the pathway to success," he added. 

Stefanik shared a similar opinion, telling Campus Reform that “no American should be denied educational opportunities because of their race.”

College admissions should be determined on individual merit, and it is unacceptable that universities are using race-based preferential treatment to discriminate against Asian-Americans,” she continued.

Steel asserted in a press release that discrimination in education is an un-American principle that she has long worked to fix. She stated that merit should be prioritized over race.

"Discrimination of any kind has no place in our country, and that includes discrimination in the halls of our schools and universities. I’ve worked for decades to bring fairness to our education system because students deserve to be judged on their hard work and commitment to learning, not by their race," Steel stated.

Cruz addressed discrimination in education in a public statement, as well, and accused the universities of skirting the dream of civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr.

“In my office, on the mantle above the fireplace, sits a bust of the great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It’s a daily reminder of the fight for Justice and that our country’s aspiration should be to judge people not on the color of their skin but the content of their character," Cruz stated. "Harvard University and the University of North Carolina have both lost sight of that."

[RELATED: WATCH: 'Why are colleges allowed to do this?' Lawyer explains race-based admissions policies.]

In addition to affirming support for SFFA, the 28-page brief demands the reversal of the 2003 SCOTUS case Grutter v. Bollinger- which ruled that the use of race as a factor in admissions does not violate the Equal Protection Clause so long as it is "narrowly tailored" in the process.

"Petitioner asks this Court to overrule Gutter," the brief states. "We agree."

Steel has been an advocate for increased transparency in the college admission process. Last month, she introduced the Helping Applicants Receive Valid and Reasonable Decisions Act (HARVARD Act) which would require higher education institutions publicly disclose how personality traits are considered in the admission process.

Scalise commended the effort Steel has committed to the issue, and told Campus Reform that he is "proud to sign onto her amicus brief advocating for integrity and equal treatment[.]"

"Congresswoman Michelle Steel has worked for decades to ensure there is a level playing field for students in our education system," Scalise said.

Harvard and the University of North Carolina will present the argument for using race-based policies to SCOTUS during the fall term. 

SFFA is a nonprofit group that believes "racial classifications and preferences in college admissions are unfair, unnecessary, and unconstitutional."

SFFA reports having over 20,000 members including "students, parents, and others."

Campus Reform has contacted every organization and individual mentioned in this article for comment and will update accordingly.

Follow @Alexaschwerha1 on Twitter