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Supreme Court allows elite Virginia school admissions policy despite race dispute

The US Supreme Court has temporarily reinstated a woke admissions policy at an elite Virginia public high school designed to increase its racial and socioeconomic diversity.

The court rejected a request for emergency relief by a group called the Coalition for TJ that opposed the new rules, saying they harmed Asian-American students at the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria.

The group has argued that Asian Americans, who constituted more than 70 percent of the student body, were unfairly targeted in the new policy.

Coalition for TJ, represented by the conservative Pacific Legal Foundation, sued the school board last year, arguing that the new policy discriminated against Asian Americans.

It had called for Supreme Court to reinstate a federal judge’s February ruling that stopped the school from using the recently devised admissions policy.

Three conservative justices on the nine-member court — which has a 6-3 conservative majority — said in the brief court order that they would have granted the coalition’s request.

Thomas Jefferson, a magnet school, has a selective admissions policy that has had chronic underrepresentation of black and Hispanic students.

Later this year, the Supreme Court is due to hear cases involving Harvard University and the University of North Carolina regarding affirmative action policies.
REUTERS/Emily Elconin/File Photo

In its new admissions policy, the school board ended a standardized testing requirement and guaranteed spots for the top students from each public middle school in the area.

The case is the latest front in a legal battle over school admissions policies involving or affecting the racial composition of US campuses.

The 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, had put Judge Claude Hilton’s February ruling striking down the school’s admissions policy on hold while litigation over the policy’s legality moved forward.

Asra Nomani, an anti-critical race theory campaigner whose child graduated from the school last year, recently slammed the school board.

“Every American should be offended and outraged by the arrogance of the Fairfax County School Board in insisting on clinging to its state-sponsored racism and discrimination,” Nomani said, according to WUSA.

Nomani, a co-founder of the Coalition for TJ, called it “unconscionable” that the school system defended its policies after a judge found them to be discriminatory.

“That’s nothing but systemic racism” against Asian Americans, Nomani said.

Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares was among those who backed the parent group.

“I’m proud to stand with these parents,” Miyares said in an interview with the Fairfax Times.

Jason Miyares
Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares has expressed his support for the Coalition for TJ.
Julia Rendleman for The Washington Post via Getty Images

“Unfortunately, in too many areas of America today, one of the few forms of state-sanctioned bigotry is bigotry and discrimination against our Asian American brothers and sisters and fellow Virginians.” 

In a statement, the Fairfax County Public Schools said: “Today’s action by the U.S. Supreme Court will allow a race-blind and fair admissions process to proceed for this fall’s entering freshman class at the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJ) while the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond considers the underlying appeal.

“The Fourth Circuit has approved Fairfax County Public Schools’ request for an expedited schedule to resolve the legal issues involved in the admissions process,” it continued, according to WJLA.

John Foster, an attorney for the school system, said: “We continue to believe our new plan for TJ admissions is merit-based and race-blind. We are confident that after considering the facts and the law, the appeals court will decide that our plan meets all the legal requirements and guarantees every qualified student will have the chance of being admitted to the finest public science and technology high school in the country.”

Later this year, the Supreme Court is due to hear cases involving Harvard University and the University of North Carolina that give its conservative majority a chance to end affirmative action policies used by universities to increase enrollment of black and Hispanic students.

With Post wires

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