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A Harvard University building in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Photo: Scott Eisen via Getty Images

The Biden administration on Wednesday urged the Supreme Court to reject a challenge to Harvard's affirmative action policy.

Why it matters: The challenger, Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA), is appealing a lower court decision to uphold the policy, which it claims violates civil rights law by discriminating against Asian Americans and showing preference to Black and Hispanic applicants.

  • The conservative high court's ruling on the case could have a long-standing impact on the future of affirmative action in the U.S.

What they're saying: "The court of appeals correctly recognized that Harvard’s admissions policy is subject to 'strict scrutiny,' under which its 'use of race must further a compelling interest and be narrowly tailored to do so,'" Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar said in the court filing.

  • SFFA has not proven the "special justification" needed to overturn precedents on affirmative action, which "correctly recognize that securing the educational benefits that flow from such diversity is a sufficiently compelling interest to justify race-conscious measures," Prelogar added.
  • The filing also pointed out that the allegation of discrimination against Asians is "factually and legally distinct from petitioner’s challenge to Harvard’s acknowledged use of race as a plus factor."

Worth noting: SFFA has asked the Supreme Court to hear a separate affirmative action case against the University of North Carolina, which is a public institution, per Reuters.

The big picture: Harvard has maintained that it does not dock Asians and only considers race when deciding between highly competitive applicants.

Go deeper

Governor appoints Tennessee's next Supreme Court justice

Sarah Keeton Campbell. Photo courtesy of the governor's office

Gov. Bill Lee is appointing Sarah Keeton Campbell to be Tennessee's next Supreme Court justice.

China builds its own movie empire

Expand chart
Data: Gower Street citing Comscore; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

China blocked all four of Disney's Marvel movies from being released in its theaters last year, a grim sign for U.S. film giants being squeezed out of the world's fastest-growing box office.

Why it matters: The Chinese Communist Party is using domestic films as a key conduit for mass messaging aimed at achieving political goals, leaving little room for foreign views.

Why 401(k) rollovers are so annoying

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

If you happened to change jobs recently, you may have tried to transfer your retirement account from your former employer into an Individual Retirement Account or your new employer's 401(k) plan. If so, you probably encountered a bureaucratic gantlet — and you're not alone.

Why it matters: Kludgey processes around retirement account transfers result in people losing track of their funds, giving up important tax advantages, or otherwise disadvantaging themselves and being less prepared for retirement.