Supreme Court Justice Sam Alito George W. Bush is mad that he's so woke

The Supreme Court announced on Tuesday that it would not investigate TJ v. Coalition for Fairfax County School BoardA case striking down a school enrollment program that was considered a cutting-edge conservative idea a quarter century ago — former Republican President George W. Bush's most important champion.

Two justices dissented, with Justice Samuel Alito writing Angry comment Attacks school admissions policy that closely mirrors Bush's signature racial justice plan.

In the late 1990s, when Bush was governor of Texas, he signed the law creating that state.Top 10 percent”University Admissions Act. As the name suggests, the Bush Act guaranteed that Texas high school students who graduated in the top 10 percent of their class would be admitted to state-run universities. The program is still in place, although the state's flagship school, the University of Texas at Austin, accepts only the top 6 percent or so of students due to increased applications.

Bush has touted the plan as a way to racially diversify Texas universities and as an alternative to race-conscious admissions programs that Republicans have long scorned (programs recently declared illegal by the Supreme Court's GOP-appointed majority). As Bush said during his 2000 presidential campaign, the top 10 percent style projects “Access to higher education affects the number of minority student applicants in a positive way.”

Distinguishing Bush's plan from Harvard's and the University of North Carolina's affirmative action plans was recently invalidated by a court. Under Harvard's system, the race can be used as a kind of tiebreaker to decide which of the many applicants is exceptionally qualified to be offered one of the few slots in Harvard's freshman class. Under Bush's plan, by contrast, students are admitted mechanically based on their class rank.

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Yet, as Bush has made clear several times, the program's goal was to achieve some degree of racial diversity in Texas' public universities. It did so by exploiting the fact that many American communities are racially segregated to create clusters of black and Latino students in some public high schools.

The Alliance with D.J A case in point Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (“TJ”), a public magnet school in Northern Virginia, is known for excellent STEM instruction.

Until a few years ago, TJ used standardized tests to identify “semifinalists” for admission, and admitted students were selected based on these semifinalists' test scores, teacher recommendations, GPAs, and written assignments that applicants had to complete.

However, in late 2020, TJ changed its admissions process to use a program similar to Bush's system. Under TJ's new system, the top 1.5 percent of students from middle schools eligible to send students to TJ are automatically admitted. The school admits an additional 100 students based on GPA and other factors, such as whether the student comes from a middle school that has historically sent some students to TJ.

Like Bush's plan in Texas, this new admissions process doesn't take explicit account of race — in fact, TJ officials screening applicants aren't told the race, gender or name of each student. However, there is substantial evidence that, like Bush's plan, it was adopted to racially segregate schools. Among other things, the chairman of the school board who adopted the new enrollment scheme said “We need to be clear about how we are going to address under-representation” of Black and Latino students at TJ.

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Question posed Alliance with D.J In other words, officials specifically choose whether a school will adopt admissions standards that do not consider race, but which they know will increase racial diversity at that school. as Alito notes in his opinionSupreme Court precedents do not permit states to enact policies that are “purposed” to benefit a particular racial group, even if they act in a racially neutral manner.

Before the Supreme Court's ruling last year, the Harvard In the case, selective schools were allowed to take some limited account of race for the purpose of diversifying their student body. Harvard It suggests that these types of programs are no longer allowed, but reverses the court's decision Alliance with D.J It's a sign that a majority of the court may still tolerate some efforts to racially diversify schools — as long as they use methods previously endorsed by Republicans.

Notably, only Justice Clarence Thomas joined Alito Alliance with D.J Comment. Justice Neil Gorsuch, who often forms the three-justice MAGA coalition with Thomas and Alito, did not.

However, don't listen to the court's verdict case is evidence that most judges may tolerate top 10 percent-style programs, but it does not guarantee that they will. The court may still agree to hear a similar case in the future — and when it does, it will strike down Bush's plan.

If the Supreme Court rules that schools can't have such programs, it would be an extraordinary blow to diversity on campus that extends beyond TJ. Many state university systems, including Texas, have top 10 percent style programs California – Two large states.

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A decision against these plans would show how radicalized the Republican Party has become on race issues over the past two decades. As with court rulings striking Harvard and UNC's policies, such a decision would almost certainly be enshrined only by Republican appointees to the court.

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