The Department of Justice has granted U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar an ethics waiver, permitting the former Harvard professor to support race-based admissions in a Supreme Court case involving Harvard University.
Prelogar, who taught at Harvard Law School in the fall of 2020, was nominated for Solicitor General in August 2021 and confirmed by the Senate that October. Under the Biden Ethics Pledge, Prelogar was prohibited from working on a court case relating to her former employer until two years after her appointment.
But the ethics waiver releases her to argue the case before the Supreme Court.
Protect the People’s Trust, an ethics watchdog organization, recently obtained a copy of an ethics waiver granted to Prelogar by the DOJ in November 2021. The form released Prelogar from the two-year requirement for the case Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College.
“The timeline is very curious, especially with such a clear potential conflict of interest that required not just one, but at least two waivers, only one of which is currently publicly available,” said Michael Chamberlain, director of Protect the People’s Trust, in a recent email to The College Fix.
While the ethics waiver explicitly prohibited Prelogar from working on other court cases involving Harvard, Prelogar was allowed to contribute to Students for Fair Admissions because it was determined that her participation served “the public interest.”
“In this matter, the government has need of your participation,” the waiver reads. “The case is high profile and of considerable importance to the Department and the Administration. It raises a constitutional question that may have far-reaching and long-lasting effects on universities across the nation.”
Students for Fair Admissions is one of three lawsuits filed against separate universities by the group Students for Fair Admissions, a nonprofit organization with over 20,000 members who “believe that racial classifications and preferences in college admissions are unfair, unnecessary, and unconstitutional,” according to its website.
In Students for Fair Admissions, Asian-American students argues Harvard discriminated against them in admissions policies based on race, violating Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Those backing Students for Fair Admissions also sought to overturn the case Grutter v. Bollinger, which held that race could be used by universities in admissions processes to promote diversity in the student body.
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Source: Biden’s top Supreme Court lawyer granted ethics waiver to argue for race-based college admissions | The College Fix