Harvard College’s use of race in its admissions policies unconstitutionally discriminates against Asian-American student applicants, the U.S. Justice Department said Thursday as the government embarked on a new litigation stance under the leadership of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

The Justice Department, filing a statement of interest in the Massachusetts case Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard College, said the evidence “demonstrates that Harvard’s race-based admissions process significantly disadvantages Asian-American applicants compared to applicants of other racial groups—including both white applicants and applicants from other racial minority groups.”

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