Kamehameha Admission Policy Upheld - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Kamehameha Admission Policy Upheld

Dee Jay Mailer Dee Jay Mailer
Colleen Wong Colleen Wong
Chopper 8 view of Kamehameha School's Kapalama Campus Chopper 8 view of Kamehameha School's Kapalama Campus

By Darren Pai

SAN FRANCISCO (KHNL) - For the students of the Kamehameha Schools, it's a time to offer thanks. Once again, the schools' Hawaiians-first admissions policy survived a legal challenge.

"We want to improve the well being and capacity of our native Hawaiian people especially with our children and families so this decision allows us to move forward on that," said Dee Jay Mailer, Kamehameha Schools CEO.

In an 8-7 ruling, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the admissions policy. The court noted Congress has singled out the struggles of Native Hawaiians as a unique situation.

"This is all about an indigenous people, it's not about a government actor classifying applicants to public schools on the basis of race," said Colleen Wong, vice-president of legal affairs for Kamehameha Schools.

Eric Grant, an attorney for the unnamed plaintiff said: "We are gratified that a substantial minority of judges agreed our position had merit."

Grant said he plans on appealing to the Supreme Court.

The close ruling, attorneys for Kamehameha Schools said, does not mean the Supreme Court is more or less likely to review the case.

"They're not going to look at how close the vote was, they're going to look at the substance of the decision," Wong said. "This decision is extremely narrow and has unique circumstances."

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