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Seattle’s racial tiebreaker case: U.S Supreme Court will hear arguments tomorrow December 4, 2006

Posted by publicpolitics in Butter and Guns, Seattle Politics, Supreme Court.
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Seattle Public Schools will be under a constitutional microscope Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments on whether the district acted properly when it used race to assign students to its most popular schools.

Seattle Times

Attorneys representing the Seattle Public School System will argue an important case tomorrow before the Supreme Court, a case that constitutional law experts believe is the most important to be heard in the coming term. The essentials of the case are that Seattle Public Schools used race as tiebreaker when students, under an open admission policy for places in the public schools, competed for places at their favorite locations and there were an insufficient number of places for them The first tiebreaker was whether a prospective student had a sibling already in the school, and race was the second. The plantiffs argue that denial of a place based on race is discrimination, but the school system notes that each prospective student would be placed somewhere, even if not at the school of first choice. The policy has been suspended since 2001 , when the aggrieved parents filed the first suit. The original plantiffs are now in college.But the case is expected to set or augment mportant precedents about whether a racially diverse student body is a compelling government interest..

As controversial as this case remains, the decision, expected to come down sometime in the spring, is not likely to make anyone happy, even the winning side.

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