By Daniel Wiessner
(Reuters) - A lawsuit filed Tuesday accuses six state-run medical schools in Texas of violating federal anti-discrimination laws by giving preferences to female and non-Asian minority applicants.
The lawsuit by George Stewart, a white man who was denied admission to the schools, is the latest challenge to affirmative action policies that are commonly used by U.S. schools to boost enrollment of Black, Hispanic and female students.
The U.S. Supreme Court's conservative majority in October seemed skeptical of the legality of race-conscious admissions policies in cases involving Harvard University and the University of North Carolina.
The University of Texas and Texas Tech University, which operate the schools named in the new lawsuit, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Stewart's lawsuit in Lubbock, Texas, federal court was filed by conservative group America First Legal (AFL) and Jonathan Mitchell, a former Texas solicitor general who represents various conservative causes. AFL was formed by Stephen Miller, who was a top aide to Republican former President Donald Trump.
According to the lawsuit, Stewart in 2021 obtained enrollment data for the six schools after he was denied admission.
Stewart alleged that the data revealed that Black, Hispanic and female students at the schools had significantly lower grade-point averages or test scores than white, Asian and male students. Stewart said in the complaint that the data showed that the schools gave preferences to female and non-Asian minority applicants.
Stewart accused the schools of violating federal laws prohibiting race and sex discrimination in federally funded educational programs.
AFL in September filed a lawsuit accusing Texas A&M University of violating the same laws by adopting policies designed to diversify its faculty, such as setting aside funds to supplement the salaries of minority faculty members. The school has denied wrongdoing.
(Reporting by Daniel Wiessner in Albany, New York; Editing by Alexia Garamfalvi and Lisa Shumaker)