aaldef and advancing justice file amicus briefs to u.s. supreme court in support of race-conscious college admissions

Today, both the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund and the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice -- with support from a multitude of Asian American and Pacific Islander organizations -- filed amicus curiae briefs urging the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold race-conscious admissions policies in higher education:

AALDEF: AALDEF Files Amicus Brief Urging Supreme Court to Uphold Race-Conscious Admissions at the University of Texas.

Advancing Justice: Advancing Justice and 70+ Asian American and Pacific Islander Groups File Brief at U.S. Supreme Court in Support of Race-Conscious Admissions in Higher Education

In October, the Court will hear arguments in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin to determine whether the University of Texas-Austin's use of race as one of many factors in its consideration of 25 percent of its total admissions pool is constitutional. From the Advancing Justice press release:

Advancing Justice's brief places the experience of Asian Americans and race-conscious admissions programs in context, describing how the programs have opened up higher education for AAPIs and other minorities and how AAPIs have benefited from race-conscious programs in employment, business, and government contracting.

"Voting and polling trends consistently show that a majority of Asian Americans support race-conscious admissions programs," said Mee Moua, executive director of AAJC. "Asian American voters in California, Michigan, Washington, and other states have opposed referenda to eliminate race-conscious programs, and national opinion polls consistently show that a majority of Asian Americans support race-conscious programs. The breadth of our coalition is proof of just how much Asian Americans recognize that policies that promote diversity and equal opportunity strengthen our society and benefit us all."

Advancing Justice supports UT Austin's admissions program and disputes that the program harms Asian Americans. The amicus brief demonstrates how all students, including Asian Americans, benefit from race-conscious admissions programs that increase campus diversity, promote cross-racial interaction and cultural understanding, and prepare all students to be effective leaders in our multi-cultural society. The brief also challenges the overemphasis on test scores in admissions in light of studies and data showing that test scores are an inaccurate and incomplete measure of merit and achievement, and that Asian American admissions rates do not suffer when other factors are taken into account.
From AALDEF's press release:
AALDEF's amicus brief demonstrates that UT-Austin's individualized review of applicants is narrowly-tailored to achieve diversity. Under UT-Austin's admissions policy, the vast majority of freshmen are admitted based on GPA alone. Fisher v. UT-Austin only challenges the "individualized review" process used for the small remainder of applicants, which considers a wide variety of individual characteristics to determine each applicant's merit. These are "an applicant's culture; language; family; educational, geographic, and socioeconomic background; work, volunteer, or internship experiences; leadership experiences; special artistic or other talents, as well as race and ethnicity." Race or ethnicity can benefit any applicant.

"Every applicant has a different story to tell, and race can be a part of that story. We deserve the opportunity to be recognized for it," said Jennifer Tran, UT-Austin undergraduate student and Director of Operations at UT-Austin's Asian Desi Pacific Islander American Collective.

AALDEF's amicus brief supports diversity as a compelling interest for all Americans, including AAPIs. AAPIs need interactions with a diverse student body to become leaders. In a study of over 3000 undergraduates, when Asian American students interacted more frequently with other minority students, those students reported more positive perceptions of Asian Americans as a whole. In a study of top law schools, Asian American, Black, and White students reported learning from interracial conversations, with Asian Americans reporting at the highest percentage.
Both briefs have been signed on with support from national organizations, local community based groups, advocacy organizations, bar associations, business associations, academic institutions, student organizations and higher education faculty and officials.

Read AALDEF's full press release here. You can download a copy of their amicus brief here. Also read Advancing Justice's press release here. You can download their full brief here.

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