As the trial challenging the Law School admissions policies moves into its final stages, an appeal in the undergraduate case could be filed this week.

The decision handed down by federal district court Patrick Duggan on Dec. 13, which decided the case without holding a trial, was certified for appeal last Monday. Each side has 10 days to respond, making the deadline to file Feb. Friday.

Normally, each side would have to wait until the litigation in the case is completely finished before filing an appeal. But Duggan”s certification will allow an appeal before proceeding with the damages phase of the case, which has not yet begun.

“In the opinion of this court, this Order involves the following controlling questions of law as to which there is substantial ground for difference of opinion,” Duggan wrote in a court order.

These questions, he continued, would first be the questions of whether diversity is a compelling interest that justifies taking race into account in admissions and second whether the University”s admissions processes “are properly designed to achieve that interest.”

In his earlier decision, Duggan granted summary judgment in favor of the University, writing that using race as a “plus” factor in admissions was permissible. Duggan also excused former University President James Duderstadt and President Lee Bollinger as defendants in the case.

Duggan also wrote that diversity is a compelling government interest, in accordance with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell”s opinion in the 1978 case, Regents of the University of California v. Bakke.

But Duggan also ruled the “grid” admissions policy used from 1995-1998 was unconstitutional because “it is clear from the face of the grids themselves that in some cases, the only defining factor was race.”

“We jointly requested this certification to promote efficiency because there”s such important questions at stake,” said University Deputy General Counsel Liz Barry.

Barry declined to comment on whether the University will appeal.

Bollinger said, “We have not made a decision yet to seek any appeal.”

Bollinger added that he “continues to be extremely pleased with the outcome of the undergraduate case. It is truly a seminal victory for the University.”

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