admissions policy, supreme court

Supreme Court Opts Not To Challenge ‘Race-Neutral’ Admissions Policy At Virginia High School

The Supreme Court chose not to engage in a heated debate over race and education, opting against challenging an admissions policy.

In a decision on Feb. 20, the Supreme Court chose not to engage in the heated debate over race and education, opting against challenging an admissions policy designed to foster diversity at a Virginia high school, according to NBC News.

This move by the high court follows its earlier decision to cease considering race in college admissions, and it raises questions about the conservative-dominated court’s stance on admissions policies that, while not explicitly factoring in race, contribute to a more diverse student body.

The case in question pertained to Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, a public high school in Fairfax County, VA. The school implemented a new admissions policy in 2022, asserting its commitment to a “race-neutral” approach by not considering standardized test scores, and ensuring spots for top-performing students from various middle schools in the county.

The Supreme Court’s decision not to intervene in this case leaves the fate of such admissions policies uncertain, particularly those that may lead to increased diversity without explicitly incorporating racial criteria.

However, two conservative justices, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, dissented from the majority decision. Alito expressed disagreement with the lower court’s ruling, stating, “We should wipe the decision off the books.” He argued that the appeals court’s conclusion implied that intentional racial discrimination is constitutionally acceptable as long as it is not deemed excessively severe.

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, voiced his disappointment with the Supreme Court’s choice not to hear the case. In a post on social media platform X, Youngkin emphasized his belief in admissions based on merit and the nation’s founding principles of building a better future through hard work and determination.

The alterations to Thomas Jefferson High School’s admissions process resulted in a shift in the student demographic, with a decline in the number of Asian American students and an increase in Black and Latino students. The school’s leadership maintains that the changes align with constitutional principles and are in the best interests of their students.

As the debate over admissions policies and diversity in educational institutions continues, the Supreme Court’s recent decision reflects the ongoing tension surrounding these issues within the realm of legal scrutiny and constitutional interpretation.

RELATED CONTENT: US Colleges Game Out a Possible End to Race-Conscious Student Admissions