New York City; December 13, 2018: A federal lawsuit filed today targets New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s thinly veiled attempt to racially balance specialized high school enrollment. Right now, the city’s Discovery program admits a small number of students to these world-class public high schools. The mayor plans to expand the program in a way that would shut out hundreds of eligible Asian-American students—intentionally.

Yi Fang Chen moved to the United States from China with her parents in 1996. She eventually earned her doctoral degree from Stanford University and now has two young children of her own.

“We all have the American dream of equal opportunity. I was able to achieve what my parents came to this country for,” Yi Fang explains. “But by using race preference to determine student enrollment at these excellent schools, it’s like the mayor is taking someone else’s dream away.”

Yi Fang and a number of Asian-American parents, the Asian American Coalition for Education, the Chinese American Citizens Alliance of Greater New York, and the Christa McAuliffe Parent Teacher Organization, represented by Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF), have asked a federal judge to stop the proposed Discovery program expansion from taking effect.

“New York City shouldn’t determine who gets the opportunity to attend public schools if it’s motivated by racial purposes,” says PLF attorney Joshua Thompson. “Such race-based decision-making violates the Constitution’s equal protection guarantee and has been shot down at the U.S. Supreme Court numerous times. We look forward to challenging Mayor de Blasio’s unconstitutional racial gerrymandering in federal court.”

Read more about the case at


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Pacific Legal Foundation is a national nonprofit law firm that defends Americans threatened by government overreach and abuse. Since our founding in 1973, we challenge the government when it violates individual liberty and constitutional rights. With active cases in 34 states plus Washington, D.C., PLF represents clients in state and federal courts, with 18 wins of 20 cases litigated at the U.S. Supreme Court.

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