AP: Race-Based Admissions in LA Schools OK, Says Judge

From the Associated Press (Dec. 12, 2007): 

The Los Angeles Unified School District’s practice of using race as a factor in enrolling students for its popular magnet programs doesn’t violate an anti-discrimination law, a judge has ruled.

In a ruling filed Monday, Superior Court Judge Paul Gutman upheld the nation’s second-largest school district’s integration plan, which also buses volunteer minority students to schools in certain parts of the city.

The American Civil Rights Foundation had filed a lawsuit in 2005 claiming the district’s practice violated a voter-approved initiative that outlaws racial preferences in all public programs in California.

District officials contend they are exempt from the court order and the state law because they’re operating under a 1981 court-ordered desegregation program.

“It appears quite clearly and beyond dispute that … LAUSD was ordered to employ race and ethnicity to ensure that the magnet schools would in fact be segregated,” Gutman said. He noted that the 1981 order did not set a date for desegregation goals to be achieved.

“It thereby becomes beyond rational argument that the order approving implementation of the desegregation plan … still exists … and has never been affected by any subsequent ruling,” the judge said.

An attorney for the foundation said he planned to appeal the decision.

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