U.S. Supreme Court Declines Review of Appeal in Kamehameha Admissions Suit

May 16, 2011, 11:35 AM HST · Updated May 16, 11:42 AM
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By Wendy Osher

Kamehameha Kapalama Campus, file photo by Wendy Osher.

The U.S. Supreme Court today issued an order declining to review an earlier ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals involving the Hawaiian preference admissions policy at Kamehameha School.

In March 2010, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling that four students who anonymously challenged the school’s admissions policy, could not proceed under anonymity.

Today’s ruling essentially, lets stand that prior ruling from the lower court.

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Attorneys for the plaintiffs filed the suit, known as Jacob Doe, et. al. vs. Kamehameha Schools in August 2008, in which the plaintiffs were listed by by pseudonyms: Jacob, Janet, Karl and Lisa Doe and their parents.  The anonymity was sought to protect the plaintiffs from harm.

Trustees from Kamehameha Schools issued a message today saying, “We have believed from the outset that if this case were to proceed it should do so as openly and honestly as possible, and we are gratified that the courts agree.”

The Kamehameha Schools’ admissions policy, established more than a century ago, allows preference be given to applicants of Hawaiian ancestry to the extent permitted by law.

Supporters of the policy claim it addresses disadvantages to the Native Hawaiian people since the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom, while opponents argue that the policy is race-based and discriminatory.

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