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Harvard Yard. Photo: Getty Images

A lawsuit challenging Harvard University’s admissions practices — claiming discrimination against Asian-American applicants by holding them to a higher standard — will head to trial in a Boston federal court on Monday.

Why it matters: The case could have far-reaching consequences in college admissions at a time when the country’s polarized climate continues to stoke racial and political divisions.

The details: Officials, alumni, and students from the Ivy League school will take the stand to examine the admissions policies. Harvard, one of the most selective universities in the world, had said it does not discriminate but instead uses race as one of many factors to build classes of diverse backgrounds.

  • The case was brought by Students for Fair Admissions, a nonprofit group known for orchestrating legal challenges to affirmative action practices and voting rights laws in recent years.

What they're saying: Asian-Americans are divided on the case. Some, including groups like Asian Americans Advancing Justice, said they are being used by conservatives as a wedge to abolish affirmative action.

  • Edward Blum, the head of Students for Fair Admissions, told the Washington Post: "The cornerstone mission of [my] organization is to eliminate the use of race and ethnicity in college admissions. Period. We make no bones about that."
  • The case drew support from the Trump Justice Department, which has filed a statement of interest in the challenge, and has also recently opened inquiries into complaints of discrimination against Asian-Americans at Harvard and Yale.

The big picture: This could be a landmark case that might reach the Supreme Court, which upheld a race-conscious admissions program at the University of Texas at Austin in 2016. In that case, a white student whom Blum recruited to sue the university said she was discriminated against because of her race and UT's affirmative action policies.

Go deeper: The cracks in the college admissions system.

Go deeper

18 mins ago - World

Biden huddles with European allies on Ukraine ahead of Putin call

Putin in the Kremlin. Photo: Grigory Sysoyev/Sputnik via Getty

President Biden will seek to convince Russia's Vladimir Putin in a phone call Tuesday that the price of invading Ukraine would be steeper than anything he's faced in the past.

Driving the news: Biden held a call on Ukraine this evening with the leaders of France, Germany, Italy and the U.K., while Secretary of State Tony Blinken called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to offer America's "unwavering support."

Justice Department closes Emmett Till murder probe

A faded photograph is attached to the headstone that marks the gravesite of Emmett Till in Burr Oak Cemetery in Chicago. Photo: Scott Olson via Getty Images

The family of Emmett Till announced Monday that the Department of Justice has formally closed its second investigation into the 1955 murder of Emmett Till.

Why it matters: The DOJ reopened the probe in 2018 after the white woman at the center of the case reportedly recanted her allegation that Till, a Black 14-year-old, sexually harassed her prior to his murder.

GOP Rep. Devin Nunes to retire, will be CEO of Trump media org

Rep. Devin Nunes. Photo: Dylan Hollingsworth/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), who serves as the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, will retire at the end of the year and become CEO of Trump's new media organization.

Why it matters: Nunes, once considered a moderate member of the party, became one of the fiercest defenders of former President Donald Trump throughout both of Trump's impeachments and the Intel committee's Russia investigation.

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