A case regarding a Virginia high school’s controversial, seemingly race-based admissions policy might be heading to the U.S. Supreme Court, Fox News reports.
The school is the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, a magnet school located in Fairfax County, Virginia.
The school, in the past, has faced criticism for lacking diversity. As a result, the school decided to change its admissions process, which used to be heavily based on standardized testing, so as to take into account such things as an applicant’s socioeconomic background.
The results of this change speak for themselves. The percentage of Black students went from 1% of the student body to 7%, and the percentage of Hispanic students went from 3% to 11%. At the same time, the percentage of Asian American students went from 73% of the student body to only 54%.
A group of parents, known as the Coalition for TJ, is looking to get the school to overturn this new admissions practice, so they took the matter to the courts.
Coalition for TJ is arguing, in part, that the new admissions practice unfairly discriminates against Asian American students, as the numbers suggest.
Fairfax County Public Schools claim that this is false. It has insisted that its new admissions practices are race-neutral, and it further claims that admissions officials do not even know an applicant’s race when they review the applicant’s admission documents.
In February, a district court ruled in favor of the Coalition for TJ. Judge Claude Hilton determined that impermissible “racial balancing” is at the center of the school’s new admissions practices, and he ordered the practices to be amended.
Fairfax County Public Schools asked Hilton to delay the implementation of his ruling, but he refused. The school system appealed to the 4th Circuit.
The 4th Circuit decided to allow the school system to continue to use its new admissions practices while its legality is being decided in court. This is what led the Coalition for TJ to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Just last week, U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Roberts called upon Fairfax County Public Schools to issue a response to the Coalition for TJ’s emergency application. Once that response is provided, the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether or not to grant the emergency application.
This could result in the case ending up before the nine justices.