ACR Project, Manhattan Institute, and Hamilton Lincoln Law Institute Jointly File Amicus Brief Supporting Cert Petition of Coalition for TJ

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Along with Manhattan Institute and Hamilton Lincoln Law Institute, the ACR Project filed at the Supreme Court an amicus brief supporting Coalition for TJ’s cert. petition.  You can see the full brief, below.

TJ, a Northern Virginia math-and-science magnet, has long been one of the most highly regarded public high schools in America.  In 2020, the government running it decided that TJ’s racial balance was “problematic and should be changed.” What was so problematic? Through its prior, merit-based system, the school kept admitting large numbers of Asian students. As the responsible government undertook a process to change TJ’s admissions policy to address that “problem,” it unanimously adopted a resolution, requiring its school system to “report to the state … that the goal is to have TJ’s demographics represent the NOVA region.” It eventually developed a new admissions system, which both avoided any use of words like “race” and resulted in its first year in about a 1/3 reduction of the Asian percentage of admitted students.

The concerned parents who make up the Coalition for TJ then sued.  The District Court found intentional racial balancing and discrimination and enjoined the use of the new admissions process.  The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals intervened, though, first to stay that injunction and then to reverse the District Court.  That is the ruling that the Coalition for TJ has asked the Supreme Court to review.

Our brief argues that allocating children’s educational opportunities based on race is always wrong — that it was wrong during Jim Crow, wrong in Parents Involved, wrong for the relevant government to pursue at TJ, and wrong for the 4th Circuit to endorse through judicial flim-flammery.

It argues that the Court of Appeals reversed the lower court under the wrong standards of review, by focusing on irrelevancies and mischaracterizing Supreme Court precedents.

It argues that the Court of Appeals wrongly required proof of a disparate impact and then transmuted disparate-impact analysis into something alien to American law that enforces racial balancing, rather than preventing it.

It points out that the deciding vote of the split 4th Circuit panel justified his decision by wrongly reading the portions of decades of Supreme Court cases asking whether the challenged, discriminatory programs those cases held to serve compelling state interests were narrowly tailored (meaning that there were no less-discriminatory alternatives available to serve those interests), as having “blessed” racial balancing through the use of facially-neutral proxies for its own sake.

Finally, it highlights that TJ’s experience since the alteration of its admissions policy calls into question whether racially-scored “diversity” improved anyone’s education at all.

The Fourth Circuit opinion seeks to coach every racialist decisionmaker in America through how to defeat judicial scrutiny. The Supreme Court needs to take this case, both to correct the damage the Fourth Circuit’s mistakes have done to the law, and to avoid the Fourth Circuit’s coaching from infecting America’s entire educational landscape, so practically undoing the Court’s SFFA decision from this summer.


Published On: September 26th, 2023Categories: Blog, Filings and CasesBy