Justice Alito Wants To Wipe Decision Off The Books After Declining Racial Admission Case

 February 20, 2024

The Supreme Court's decision echoes through the halls of justice, leaving a profound silence on a contentious issue.

The refusal to review a case concerning affirmative action at a prestigious Virginia high school has sparked a fervent dissent from Justice Samuel Alito, accentuating a deep divide over educational equality and racial discrimination.

Justice Samuel Alito, known for his meticulous legal reasoning, did not mince words in his dissent. He vehemently criticized the decision to leave a lower court ruling in place, which affirmed the admissions policy of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia. Alito's concerns were not just about the policy itself but its broader implications on the legal understanding of discrimination and equality.

Alito Challenges Admissions Policy for Unfair Impact on Asian Americans

Alito highlighted the adverse impact of the admissions policy on Asian American students, countering claims of fairness and equality. His sharp critique pointed out what he views as a legal mishandling that could set a worrying precedent for future cases.

Even though the new policy bore ‘more heavily’ on Asian- American applicants... That is indefensible ... [t]he Fourth Circuit’s decision is based on a theory that is flagrantly wrong and should not be allowed to stand.

The core of Alito's dissent lies in the assertion that the Fourth Circuit's interpretation of disparate impact and intent fundamentally misconstrues legal standards. He argues that the admissions policy, while not explicitly based on race, results in a discriminatory outcome that undermines the principles of equal opportunity.

The Court's Refusal Leaves Questions Unanswered

The Supreme Court's decision not to grant a writ of certiorari ends this particular legal battle but does not settle the war over affirmative action in education. Alito, joined by Justice Clarence Thomas, worries that this case may encourage similar policies across the country, further complicating the legal landscape surrounding race and admissions.

Despite the Court's silence, the dissent signals a deep unease with the direction of affirmative action jurisprudence. It raises questions about how schools can balance the goal of diversity with the mandate to treat all applicants equitably under the law.

School officials have stated their intention to increase the representation of black and Hispanic students. However, Alito's dissent suggests that the means to achieve such diversity should be scrutinized just as rigorously as the ends.

A Warning of Legal Precedents to Come

Alito did not hold back in warning about the potential replication of such admissions policies. He views the Fourth Circuit's ruling as a dangerous precedent that could undermine the very foundation of race-neutral admissions criteria.

[T]he Fourth Circuit’s reasoning is a virus that may spread if not promptly eliminated... TJ’s model itself has been trumpeted to potential replicators as a blueprint for evading SFFA.

The justice's stark language underscores his concern that affirmative action policies, if not carefully crafted and scrutinized, may perpetuate inequality under the guise of achieving diversity.


The Supreme Court's decision has left more than just a policy in place; it has ignited a debate over the fundamental principles governing our educational institutions and society. This case, while officially closed, opens a new chapter in the ongoing discourse over equality, discrimination, and the judiciary's role in shaping Constitutional rights. As Justice Alito's potent dissent makes clear, the implications of this decision will resonate far beyond the halls of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.

About Victor Winston

Victor is a freelance writer and researcher who focuses on national politics, geopolitics, and economics.

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