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June 05, 2006

Supremes Agree To Hear Challenge to Seattle Schools' Use of Race As A Factor in Enrollment

School closure's aren't the only hot political issue involving Seattle schools.  The New York Times, among others, is reporting that the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear  Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District, which challenges Seattle's current use of race as a "tiebreaker" factor in the too-complex-to-explain-here high school enrollment process.

The Supreme Court's decision to add the cases to the calendar for its next term, a step that by all appearances was controversial within the court and unexpected outside it, plunged the new Roberts court into one of the country's deepest constitutional debates....

Both appeals reached the court in January and evidently provoked a vigorous internal debate among the justices, who considered the Seattle case six times and the Louisville case seven times before issuing the one-line order accepting both. Prolonged review of this sort is unusual.

Briefs are now likely to pour into the court in advance of a November argument; the University of Michigan case drew more than 100 briefs. But one of the more influential analyses may prove to be a brief concurring opinion in the Seattle case by Judge Alex Kozinski, the Ninth Circuit judge whose views carry great weight among legal conservatives.

Describing the Seattle plan as one "that gives the American melting pot a healthy stir without benefiting or burdening any particular group," Judge Kozinski addressed the Supreme Court justices directly, on the assumption that they would soon be reviewing the decision.

"There is much to be said for returning primacy on matters of educational policy to local officials," he said.

Should be interesting.

Posted by Jon Stahl on June 5, 2006 at 11:32 PM in Policy | Permalink

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