ACR Project, Manhattan Institute, and HLLI Jointly File Amicus Brief Supporting Cert Petition of Boston Parent Coalition for Academic Excellence

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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 the Boston Parent Coalition’s cert. petition.  You can see the full brief, below.

Fulfilling Justice Alito’s Warning from TJ

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court declined the parallel petition asking it to reconsider the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision smiling on Fairfax County’s Board of Education’s decision to rejigger the admissions policy of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology to reduce the number of Asians admitted through the application of carefully chosen, non-racial factors. Justice Alito then warned that the lower Court’s reasoning might spread as a blueprint for evading the Harvard decision. Boston Parent Coalition shows how right he was.

Facts Present Chance for Judicial Mulligan

Boston Parent Coalition presents the Justices a chance, on even clearer facts, to take a mulligan. It allows the Court to address the unconstitutionality of governments pursuing preferred racial balances through carefully engineered non-racial proxies. The Boston Public Schools maintain three “exam schools,” so-called because their admissions traditionally rested heavily on standardized testing. That includes Boston Latin, the oldest public school in North America, which taught five signers of the Declaration of Independence. The exam schools long served the Boston school system as crown jewels, usually considered among America’s best high schools. Mid-pandemic, while refusing to fully re-open the city’s schools, the Boston School Committee overhauled the exam-schools’ admission system. They replaced the exam system with one allocating seats in the exam schools by zip code. Multiple Committee members expressly supported the changes because they promised to racially balance the schools’ populations. Indeed, three of the seven School Committee members that voted for the changes later resigned over racist comments. The committee chair resigned after a hot mic caught him ridiculing Chinese-American parents registered to oppose the proposal. Two other members resigned after the Boston Globe published their racist texts complaining about White and Asian parents.

These are not allegations. They are the findings of lower courts admitting the Committee’s plain racial animus while nonetheless upholding the changes as constitutional. The First Circuit expressly recognized that “the Plan was chosen precisely to alter racial demographics.” It did not care, because Asian and White applicants still got through at rates higher than these groups’ share of the city’s student population.

Four Reasons Court Should Take Boston Parent Coalition

Our brief asks the Court to take this chance to right this wrong, on four bases: (1) the lower courts’ endorsement of intentional racial discrimination is untenable; (2) strict scrutiny properly applies to intentionally discriminatory racial balancing regardless of whether that intentional discrimination inflicts a disparate impact; (3) the Supreme Court’s precedents establish that race-balancing cannot ever satisfy strict scrutiny; and (4) the First Circuit’s decision—like the Fourth Circuit’s in TJ—misconstrued the Supreme Court’s “narrow tailoring” jurisprudence as endorsing race-balancing through nominally race-neutral means.

The Court should heed Justice Alito’s warning and so confront the moves of every racialist decisionmaker in America to defeat judicial scrutiny. It should do so now, in Boston Parent Coalition, to avoid the Fourth and First Circuit’s decisions from practically overturning the Court’s rightfully-lauded, highly popular Harvard decision.


Published On: May 22nd, 2024Categories: Blog, Filings and CasesBy