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Parents group asks Supreme Court to look at prestigious high school’s alleged racial admissions policy


The Supreme Court is being asked to hear a lawsuit against Thomas Jefferson High School, arguing the nation’s top-ranked high school is discriminating by race in its admissions.

Pacific Legal Foundation filed a petition for the court to take up the case they brought on behalf of Coalition for TJ, a group of parents at the school and community members who argue administrators have a roundabout way of filtering for race in admissions that violates the Supreme Court’s June ruling against affirmative action policies.

“The Supreme Court made clear in Students for Fair Admission that the Constitution bans discrimination based on race, full stop,” Joshua Thompson, a senior attorney at Pacific Legal Foundation, told Fox News Digital. “TJ’s admission overhaul tried to hide its discriminatory purpose behind a patina of race-neutrality. But the school’s proxy discrimination clearly violated Chief Justice Robert’s warning against indirect discrimination.”

Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia, serves as a strong track to the Ivy League. Parents in the region compete fiercely for a spot, with current admissions costing $100 per application and focusing heavily on standardized testing as a measure. 

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The Supreme Court building

The Supreme Court is being asked to hear a lawsuit against Thomas Jefferson High School, arguing the nation’s top-ranked high school is discriminating by race in its admissions. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

The Fairfax County School Board has attempted to address racial disparities among the student body, particularly the low numbers of Black and Hispanic students. While the school does not expressly filter for race, it instead implemented geographic quotas, guaranteeing admission to the top students of each middle school in the county. The school also factored income into the equation.

Fox News Digital reached out to the school board for comment on Pacific Legal Foundation’s Supreme Court push, but they did not immediately respond.

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Lawyers for the coalition argue the geographic quotas are merely a mask for racial discrimination.

“Racial balancing was always at the forefront of what was going on here,” Chris Kiesar, attorney for the Coalition for TJ, said of the school’s new policies. In court papers, lawyers for the coalition cited text exchanges between board members in which one member says, “there has been an anti-Asian feel underlying some of this, hate to say.”

jefferson

Thomas Jefferson High School is being accused of racial discrimination in its admissions policies. (Getty Images)

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Sona Rewari, an attorney for the school board, said there is nothing discriminatory about the new policy and that it is merely designed “to give top students from every part of Fairfax County a meaningful opportunity to attend TJ.”

The TJ lawsuit is one of several ways that conservative activists are working to capitalize on the June ruling against affirmative action. Another group, the American Alliance for Equal Rights, filed a lawsuit Tuesday alleging racial discrimination in the hiring practices at top law firms.

Fox News’ Peter Aitken contributed to this report.



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