The Supreme Court invalidated affirmative action in college admissions and ruled that race cannot be a factor in admissions at the end of June. The decision was favorable for admissions based on personal achievement.
Chief Justice John Roberts states that universities have, for too long, “concluded, wrongly, that the touchstone of an individual’s identity is not challenged bested, skills built, or lessons learned but the color of their skin. Our constitutional history does not tolerate that choice.” Justice Clarence Thomas, the nation’s second Black justice, has long called for an end to affirmative action as well.
Affirmative Action was implemented during a time when segregation placed minorities at the bottom of the educational ladder, but decades of attention to minorities in social and educational programs have long since leveled the playing field in terms of race.
Now, the Supreme Court is considering taking up another case involving admission standards based on race. The Supreme Court may consider a case involving the use of race to determine admissions to prestigious U.S. secondary schools, according to the Daily Caller and experts familiar with the matter.
Following its June ruling in favor of Students for Fair Admissions, the Supreme Court may consider Coalition for TJ v. Fairfax County School Board, legal experts told the DCNF. This case challenges the implementation of “holistic” admissions policies in K-12 institutions as opposed to merit-based policies.
Based on its prior decision regarding colleges and universities, the Supreme Court could potentially invalidate the use of such practices in primary and secondary educational institutions.
“While the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on affirmative action struck down use of racial preferences in higher education admissions, it signals that this court has little patience for institutions that engage in racial balancing, as well as penalizing certain racial groups (Asian Americans and whites) in order to confer benefits on others (blacks and Hispanics),” said Renu Mukherjee, a Manhattan Institute policy analyst focusing on affirmative action, in an interview with the outlet.
“And the fact pattern of the case concerning Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology demonstrates that the Fairfax County School Board was doing exactly that with its ‘holistic admissions’ policy,” Mukherjee noted further.
Conservative Brief reports that in 2021, the Coalition for TJ, comprised of parents, students, and staff, filed a lawsuit against the Fairfax County School Board challenging the modifications made to the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHS) admissions process.
The changes involved the elimination of standardized testing requirements and a reduction in grade-point average thresholds. According to the lawsuit, these alterations were allegedly implemented to “racially balanc[e] the school.” The revised admissions program at TJHS now considers additional factors such as an applicant’s background, including whether they attended an underrepresented middle school, had to learn English as a second language, or qualify for reduced lunch prices, the Daily Caller noted.
According to the Fairfax County Times, a federal court ruled in May that the Coalition for TJ lacked sufficient evidence to establish that the policy was motivated by “discriminatory intent.” The Pacific Legal Foundation, which represents the Coalition for TJ, has subsequently submitted an appeal with the Supreme Court.
“I anticipate that if the Supreme Court does take up the TJ case, it will, in ruling for Coalition for TJ point to its decision in ‘Students for Fair Admissions,‘” Mukherjee told the outlet. “It’s also worth remembering that the Court already ruled in 2007’s ‘Parents Involved’ that the ‘diversity rationale’ used to uphold race-conscious admissions at the university level does not apply to K-12, as well as that schools are constitutionally prohibited from engaging in racial balancing.”
According to The Washington Post, the percentage of Asian American candidates accepted into the school’s Class of 2025, which is the first TF class designated under the new admissions policy, decreased from 70 percent to 50 percent.
“Thomas Jefferson was cleverer than Harvard,” GianCarlo Canaparo, a Heritage Foundation senior legal fellow, told the Post. “Rather than discriminate against Asians and whites explicitly, it privileged applicants from middle schools where it knew there were fewer of them. But the intent was the same — to boost the number of black and Hispanic students and suppress the number of Asian and white students,” he added.
“That’s impermissible under Students For Fair Admissions, because the Chief Justice wrote that ‘What cannot be done directly cannot be done indirectly,’” Canaparo noted further. “I expect the lawsuit against Thomas Jefferson will go to the Supreme Court, and that the Court will make clear that neither direct nor indirect racial discrimination is permissible.”
For too long, elite colleges have "bought off" alumni support for race-based admission preferences with generous legacy preferences – an example of corruption breeding more corruption.
We have a better idea.
Admissions should be based on individual merit.
— Coalition for TJ #FightingForMerit (@coalitionforTJ) July 10, 2023
The gradual decline of SCOTUS cases involving race as a criterion for educational admission is a path to the reversal of affirmative action initiatives, much to the relief of those who believe that admission to academic programs should be primarily based on academic merit.