Office of Naval Research from Arlington, United States via Wikimedia Commons

A federal judge ruled today that Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology’s admissions policy illegally discriminates against Asian Americans.

U.S. District Judge Claude Hilton declared that the Fairfax County School Board resorted to impermissible “racial balancing” when they decided to scrap a traditional standardize test students worked so hard to ace.

In its place, the Board decided that socioeconomic status and region would factor into the admissions process at Thomas Jefferson (TJ).

Although the school insisted its admissions policies were race neutral, Hilton wrote, “The discussion of admissions changes was infected with talk of racial balancing from its inception.”

A lawyer for Fairfax County Public Schools told the Associated Press that the district may appeal the ruling.

“The new process is blind to race, gender and national origin and gives the most talented students from every middle school a seat at TJ,” they professed.

Per The Washington Post:

Hilton wrote that “emails and text messages between Board members and high-ranking FCPS officials leave no material dispute that, at least in part, the purpose of the Board’s admissions overhaul was to change the racial makeup to TJ to the detriment of Asian-Americans.”

“The proper remedy for a legal provision enacted with discriminatory intent is invalidation,” Hilton wrote, before issuing a stark order: “Defendant Fairfax County School Board is enjoined from further use or enforcement of” its revised admissions system.

The plaintiff, the Coalition for TJ — a group of TJ parents, students and alumni that formed to oppose the admissions changes — celebrated Friday afternoon. Asra Nomani, who is co-founder of the coalition and parent to a TJ student who graduated in 2021, said in a statement that Hinton’s ruling is thrilling.

“Today’s decision is a victory for all students, all families and the United States of America,” she said. “It is victory for equality under the law, merit education and the American Dream.”