Two of the Supreme Court’s conservative justices issued a fiery dissent Tuesday after the high court declined to hear a case challenging a Virginia high school’s admissions program that allegedly discriminates against Asian Americans. 

A coalition of parents of students at Thomas Jefferson High School, the nation’s top-ranked high school, appealed to the Supreme Court claiming that the Ivy League feeder imposes a roundabout way of filtering for race in admissions that they say violates the Supreme Court’s June 2023 ruling on affirmative action in college admissions. That case decided that the use of race as a factor in college admissions is a violation of the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.

Justices Samuel Alito, joined by Justice Clarence Thomas, dissented from the court’s denial on Tuesday, calling the lower court’s decision in the case “patently incorrect and dangerous.”

“What the Fourth Circuit majority held, in essence, is that intentional racial discrimination is constitutional so long as it is not too severe. This reasoning is indefensible, and it cries out for correction,” Alito said in his 10-page dissent. 

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Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia, serves as a strong track to the Ivy League. Parents in the region compete fiercely for a spot, with current admissions costing $100 per application and focusing heavily on standardized testing as a measure of evaluation. 

The Fairfax County School Board has attempted to address racial disparities among the student body, particularly the low numbers of Black and Hispanic students. While the school does not expressly filter for race, it instead implemented geographic quotas, guaranteeing admission to the top students of each middle school in the county. The school also factored income into the equation.

However, a parents group called the Coalition for TJ, represented by the Pacific Legal Foundation, filed a lawsuit claiming the practice was unconstitutional and discriminated against Asian American students.

“Asian-American students, many of whom are immigrants or the children of immigrants, have often seen admission to TJ as a ticket to the American dream,” Alito wrote in his dissent.

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“In this respect, their aspirations mirror those of young people from other immigrant groups. Public magnet schools with competitive admissions based on standardized tests have served as engines of social mobility by providing unique opportunities for minorities and the children of immigrants, and these students’ subsequent careers have in turn richly contributed to our country’s success,” he continued. 

Alito explained that the Court of Appeal’s decision, in his view, was “indefensible” because, under its reasoning, the school could have adopted a policy designed solely to reduce the Asian-American offer rate and still evade liability. 

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“The holding below effectively licenses official actors to discriminate against any racial group with impunity as long as that group continues to perform at a higher rate than other groups,” he said. 

“The Court’s willingness to swallow the aberrant decision below is hard to understand. We should wipe the decision off the books, and because the Court refuses to do so, I must respectfully dissent,” he said. 

Pacific Legal Foundation senior attorney Joshua Thompson said that “the Supreme Court missed an important opportunity to end race-based discrimination in K-12 admissions.” 

“Discrimination against students based on their race is not only ethically wrong but also a clear violation of the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection. Schools should evaluate students as individuals, not as groups based on racial identity,” he said. 

Fox News Digital’s Anders Hagstrom contributed to this report.