The Federal Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals voted 2-1 on March 31st to reverse the District Court’s decision on the “Stay” order (Class of 2026). The appeals court has yet to rule on the case itself (Class of 2027 onward). As it stands right now, this is the status of the legal proceedings:
Class of 2026: current admissions policy
Class of 2027 and later: will either go back to the old policy, or FCPS will create a new policy altogether
The appeals court decision states that FCPS can apply its current admissions policy (the SPS/PSE and 1.5% from each middle school, considering special factors) to another group of incoming TJ students (class of 2026). It has yet to rule on the case itself, for the admissions policy that would apply to for future years (Class of 2027 onward).
Rushing, one of the Fourth Circuit's judges, submitted a dissenting opinion from the stay, arguing that the harm to Asian-American candidates surpasses any burden to the school board associated with altering TJ's admissions policy on a compressed timeframe. This is especially true, Judge Rushing said, because the district court judge instructed the school board in September 2021 to create a new policy if their modifications were found to violate the law.
The Fourth Circuit Appeals Court's decision is far from the conclusion of the lawsuit. The coalition filed an emergency request with the United States Supreme Court on April 8th, seeking to vacate the Fourth Circuit's stay. The Supreme Court, which recently agreed to hear this case, is expected to rule on the coalition's emergency request in the coming weeks. And even if the Supreme Court does not vacate the stay, the Fourth Circuit or Supreme Court may or may not eventually conclude with the district court judge that TJ's new admissions policy is unconstitutional. The response by FCPS is expected by April 13th at 5pm. The supreme court is currently composed of 6 conservative justices, and 3 liberal justices.
Regardless of the final court ruling, the courses at TJTestPrep will be updated to match the chosen admissions format. Students who have already enrolled with us will not be required to re-enroll to get access to these changes. We will continue to keep a close eye on the situation.