Judge William Young denies School Committee request for more time to respond: “The Plaintiffs’ Rule 60b motion raises profound and most serious allegations – potentially fraud on the Court. It must be addressed via a detailed written explanation (preferably accompanied by affidavits) and an oral hearing – and soon.”
We have written extensively about a lawsuit in Boston claiming that admissions changes at elite public high schools, which downplayed standardized testing and introduced a zip code component for geographic diversity, were a subterfuge for anti-asian and anti-white bias. The goal, it was alleged, was to reduce particularly asian enrollment.
As we recently covered, it worked, As Predicted, Boston “Zip Code Quota Plan” For Elite Public Schools Reduced Asian and White Admissions, Raised Black and Latino. (Just like a similar plan that included a lottery system worked in Virginia at reducing asian enrollment.)
The lawsuit was dismissed by District Court Judge William Young, who found, among other things, that the use of zip codes did not have a discriminatory intent (emphasis added):
Apparently well counseled, the School Committee considered diversity and developed its Plan within the permissible framework of the Supreme Court precedent. Despite its goal of greater “racial, socioeconomic and geographic diversity [better to reflect the diversity of] all students (K-12),” the Plan principally anchors itself to geographic diversity by equally apportioning seats to the City’s zip codes according to the criterion of the zip code’s percentage of the City’s school-age children. See supra Section II.D. The Plan similarly anchors itself to socioeconomic diversity by ordering the zip codes within each round by their median family income. See supra Section II.D. The Plan is devoid, however, of any anchor to race. See supra Section II.D…
The School Committee’s goal of a more racially representative student body, although more often discussed and analyzed, did not commandeer the Plan, and it in fact necessarily took a back seat to the Plan’s other goals, which the Plan more aptly achieved. Consequently, any effect on the racial diversity of the Exam Schools is merely derivative of the Plan’s effect on geographic and socioeconomic diversity — not the reverse.
This Court finds and rules that the Plan is race-neutral, and that neither the factors used nor the goal of greater diversity qualify as a racial classification.
The case has been appealed to the First Circuit Court of Appeals.
But then there was a revelation that might reopen the case in the District Court. Text messages leaked to the Boston Globe, and later confirmed by The Boston Herald, showed School Committee members expressing anti-asian and anti-white hostility — DURING a hearing on the plan:
The leaked text messages that led to the recent resignations of former Boston School Committee Chair Alexandra Oliver-Davila and member Lorna Rivera have been confirmed by the Herald via public records request, which also revealed new messages.
Both members resigned earlier this month following the release of text messages sent during a meeting last fall. Oliver-Davila texted Rivera “I hate WR” — West Roxbury — to which Rivera replied that she is “sick of westie whites” — to which Oliver-Davila said “Me too I really feel Like saying that!!!!”
In another text thread, Oliver-Davila wrote, “best sc mtg ever I am trying not to cry.”
Rivera replied, “Me too!! Wait til the white racists start yelling st (sic) us!” to which Oliver-Davila wrote back, “Whatever…they are delusional.”The messages, which had previously been leaked to the Herald, were confirmed in a city public records request that the Herald obtained after appealing to the Secretary of State.
The records request also revealed more messages sent during the infamous meeting that has now led to three total school committee resignations, including former chair Michael Loconto, who was caught on a hot mic mocking Asian names.
New evidence, in the form of highly relevant text messages between two members of the Boston School Committee, has recently come to light. These text messages have long been in the possession of the City of Boston, and should be been provided to the Boston Parents in response to its public records request and should have been made a part of the agreed-upon record in this case when the Court originally considered it. But the City, instead, concealed the messages, thereby depriving the Boston Parents and the Court of the opportunity to consider them. The reason for the City’s actions can and must be inferred from the content of the concealed evidence: the text messages show clear racial motivation and anti-White racism on the part of two School Committee members who were leading proponents of the Zip Code Quota Plan. In fact, the content of this previously suppressed evidence is so damning that both members have now been forced to resign.
These facts are unique. They warrant the relief sought, and they elevate the Boston Parents’ request beyond that of other Rule 60 motions. As this memorandum explains, the Boston Parents timely exercised their rights under state law to obtain copies of these and other text messages exchanged between members of the School Committee during the meeting where the Zip Code Quota Plan was adopted. But when the School Committee responded to that request, it deliberately concealed clearly racist statements, first, by deleting racist portions of text messages from what it claimed was a “transcript” of text messages, and, second, by misrepresenting that it had produced complete records when it knew that it had not. This prejudice was further compounded when neither the City of Boston nor the individual Defendants came clean when it came time to provide this Court with an agreed-upon record. It was only after the Boston Globe published leaked copies of the offensive texts that the City of Boston finally produced them to the Boston Parents, long after this Court issued its decision in this case. That is what prompts this Motion.
These previously concealed text messages clearly reflect racial animus. And while such animus is not necessary for the Court to invoke strict scrutiny when evaluating the Zip Code Quota Plan, evidence showing such animus makes the case for strict scrutiny all the more compelling. Because the City concealed that evidence and deprived the Boston Parents and the Court from considering it, relief from the Court’s only partially-informed judgment is warranted. Unfortunately, the City’s conduct was uncovered too late for the Court to issue relief related to the requested preliminary injunction. But it is not too late for the other forms of relief the Boston Parents requested, including the permanent injunction barring any further use of the Zip Code Quota Plan, as well as relief specific to the families represented by the Boston Parents.
But this Motion does not seek any such ultimate relief, nor do the Boston Parents ask the Court to reverse its prior ruling. The issue presented by this Motion is solely whether the new evidence and its withholding by the City warrant relief from the current judgment and the reopening of the case at the District Court level. As this Memorandum explains, the answer to both questions is a resounding yes, and the Motion should, therefore, be granted.
The attorneys for the School Committee filed what they probably expected would be a routinely-granted motion for an extension of time to respond to the motion:
Given Plaintiff’s filing of its Rule 60(b) motion on June 22, 2021, Defendants’ (and Defendant-Intervenors’) opposition is currently due to be filed by July 6, 2021. Yesterday, June 30, 2021, the Court scheduled a hearing on Plaintiff’s motion for July 9, 2021….
Defendants’ undersigned counsel have significant, pressing issues that make compliance with the current opposition and hearing dates unworkable. Foremost, the undersigned are lead trial counsel in a case in this Court scheduled for a jury trial beginning on July 13, 2021.
Plaintiffs partially consented, willing to grant more time, just not as much as the School Committee lawyers wanted.
But Judge Young was having none of it. On July 2, Judge Young denied the motion for extension of time, issuing a stark warning that there potentially was a fraud on the court that could not wait to be addressed (bold in original)
Judge William G. Young: ELECTRONIC ORDER entered denying 115 Motion for Extension of Time to August 17, 2021 to File Opposition to Rule 60 Motion and Continue Hearing (Partially Assented-To) by Brenda Cassellius, Hardin Coleman, Ernani DeAraujo, Michael O’Neil, Alexandra Oliver-Davila, Lorna Rivera, Jeri Robinson, The School Committee of the City of Boston, Quoc Tran. Motion denied. The Plaintiffs’ Rule 60b motion raises profound and most serious allegations – potentially fraud on the Court. It must be addressed via a detailed written explanation (preferably accompanied by affidavits) and an oral hearing – and soon. (Gaudet, Jennifer) (Entered: 07/02/2021)
Yikes. Someone’s weekend just got ruined.
They will get even more ruined if Judge Young finds there was a fraud on the court. He is a no-nonsense judge, and I would not want to be the School Committee’s attorney if it turns out evidence was tampered with and concealed by the School Committee. Because if that’s the case, not only may the judgment be vacated and the case reopened, there likely will be separate proceedings to find out who did what and when to the evidence.DONATE
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