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Harvard University in Massachusetts. Photo: Fan Lin/Xinhua via Getty Images

An appeals court on Thursday upheld a decision that found Harvard University's admissions process does not violate the federal civil rights law Title VI.

The big picture: The ruling marks a defeat for nonprofit Students for Fair Admission, which argued in a 2014 lawsuit against Harvard that Asian American applicants were held to a higher admission standard compared to Black and Hispanic students.

  • The case exposed details of Harvard's admission preferences and student body makeup that were not influenced by race, like legacies, children of big donors and athletes.

What they're saying: "The level of variation in the share of admitted Asian American applicants is inconsistent with a quota, as is the fact that the share of admitted Asian Americans co-varies almost perfectly with the share of Asian American applicants," the decision says.

  • "The amount by which the share of admitted Asian American applicants fluctuates is greater than the amount by which the share of Asian American applicants fluctuates."
  • "Harvard's limited use of race in its admission program survives strict scrutiny."

What to watch: The decision could lead to a review by the Supreme Court.

Go deeper

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
Updated Nov 14, 2020 - Politics & Policy

The failed promise of education

Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photos: Spencer Grant, George Rose, Stephen F. Somerstein/Getty Images

In America, it's better to be born wealthy — which often means white — than to be born smart.

Why it matters: For decades, the U.S. has held up schooling as the key to unlocking the American dream, but the facts tell us that education's promise is a false one.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Key government agency says Biden transition can formally begin

General Services Administrator Emily Murphy. Photo: Alex Edelman/CNP/Getty Images

General Services Administrator Emily Murphy said in a letter to President-elect Joe Biden on Monday that she has determined the transition from the Trump administration can formally begin.

Why it matters: Murphy, a Trump appointee, had come under fire for delaying the so-called "ascertainment" and withholding the funds and information needed for the transition to begin while Trump's legal challenges played out.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Key information about the effective COVID-19 vaccines — Oxford and AstraZeneca's vaccine won't just go to rich countries.
  2. Health: U.S. coronavirus hospitalizations keep breaking recordsWhy we're numb to 250,000 deaths.
  3. World: England to impose stricter regional systemU.S. hotspots far outpacing Europe's — Portugal to ban domestic travel for national holidays.
  4. Economy: The biggest pandemic labor market drags.
  5. Sports: Coronavirus precautions leave college basketball schedule in flux.