Harvard University’s lawyer argued that a ‘mountain of evidence’ showed it did not intentionally discriminate against Asian Americans [File: Charles Krupa/AP Photo

A federal appeals court on Wednesday appeared sceptical of arguments that Harvard University discriminates against Asian-American applicants, a claim made in a closely-watched lawsuit challenging the use of race as a factor in United States college admissions.

Members of a three-judge 1st US Circuit Court of Appeals panel in Boston questioned why it should conclude a trial judge wrongly rejected the claims by Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA), a non-profit founded by anti-affirmative action activist Edward Blum.

Conservatives have long criticised affirmative action. Legal experts say the case could go to the US Supreme Court, giving its conservative majority a chance

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