Parents ask Supreme Court to address school policies that they say exclude Asians

 August 25, 2023

The Washington Post reported this week that a school in Virginia's Fairfax County has been accused of discriminating against Asian students.

In response, the parents of those students are now seeking to have the Supreme Court hear their case. 

Significant drop in Asian students under new admission policy

At issue are admissions policies adopted in 2020 by Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, a prestigious magnet school referred to by students as "TJ."

Under the new rules, Asian American students dropped from making up 70% of those admitted to 50%. Meanwhile, the number of African American and Hispanic students coming in went up sharply.

The parents have formed a group called the Coalition for TJ, which asserts that those changes came as a result of efforts to turn away Asian youth.

The Post reported in May that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit handed a legal set back to the Coalition for TJ by overturning a lower court ruling which found the Fairfax County School Board had engaged in a "patently unconstitutional" act of "racial balancing."

Supreme Court ruled last year that colleges may not use race in admission process

"The challenged admissions policy does not disparately impact Asian American students and that the Coalition cannot establish that the Board adopted its race-neutral policy with any discriminatory intent," Judge Robert B. King wrote on behalf of the 4th Circuit.

The conservative Pacific Legal Foundation is representing the Coalition for TJ, and on Monday it filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to review the 4th Circuit’s opinion.

The petition referenced a Supreme Court ruling earlier this year which found that race-conscious college admissions programs are unconstitutional.

Second attempt to get case before Supreme Court

The Post noted that the Pacific Legal Foundation attorney Joshua Thompson issued a statement in which he called for that standard to be applied.

"The Supreme Court made clear in Students for Fair Admission that the Constitution bans discrimination based on race, full stop," Thompson was quoted as saying.

"TJ’s admission overhaul tried to hide its discriminatory purpose behind a patina of race-neutrality. But the school’s proxy discrimination clearly violated Chief Justice Robert’s warning against indirect discrimination," he added.

This is not the first time that the Pacific Legal Foundation has sought to have the Supreme Court weigh in on the matter, as it made a similar request last year.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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