Experts Warn SCOTUS Could Target High-School Admissions Next

Legal experts believe that after ruling against race-based admissions in universities, the Supreme Court could take up a case challenging race-based admissions at elite high schools, the Daily Caller reported.

According to the experts, there is one case out of Virginia that the Supreme Court is likely to hear.

The case, Coalition for TJ v. Fairfax County School Board, is challenging the use of so-called “holistic” admissions.

The plaintiffs, a group of parents, staff, and students from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, sued the Fairfax County School Board in 2021 after the board modified the admissions process by removing standardized test requirements while lowering the grade-point average requirement. The lawsuit claims the policy changes are designed to racially balance the school.

The revised admissions program will also consider “experience factors,” like whether an applicant had to learn English as a second language, qualified for reduced lunch prices, or attended an underrepresented middle school.

In May, a federal court ruled that the plaintiffs failed to establish that the policy revisions were motivated by “discriminatory intent.”

The plaintiffs, represented by Pacific Legal Foundation, have appealed the lower court ruling to the Supreme Court.

According to Manhattan Insitute policy analyst Renu Mukherjee, with its ruling on affirmative action in university admissions, the Supreme Court signaled that it “has little patience for institutions that engage in racial balancing,” particularly when it penalizes some racial groups” to “confer benefits on others.”

Mukherjee told the Daily Caller that if the Supreme Court agrees to take the case, it is likely to cite its decision in the Harvard/UNC cases in its ruling.

The Heritage Foundation’s Giancarlo Canaparo told the Daily Caller that Fairfax County Schools was “cleverer than Harvard.” Instead of explicitly discriminating against Asians and whites, Fairfax “privileged applicants” from middle schools where fewer Asians and whites attend as a way to “boost the number of black and Hispanic students” while suppressing Asian and white admissions.

But even under the Supreme Court’s decision last month, this “cleverer” approach is not permitted, Canaparo explained. He told the Daily Caller that he expects the Court to take up Coalition for TJ v. Fairfax County School Board and will make it clear that racial discrimination, either ” direct” or “indirect,” is not permissible.