Press Release

Parents sue to stop New York’s attempted discrimination against Asian-American students

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

About Pacific Legal Foundation
Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) is a national nonprofit legal organization 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 39 states plus Washington D.C., PLF represents clients in state and federal courts, with 11 victories out of 13 cases heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Case Attorneys

Joshua P. Thompson

Senior Attorney

Joshua Thompson joined Pacific Legal Foundation in August 2007. He primarily litigates cases involving equality under the law, economic liberty, school choice, and coastal land rights. Joshua was raised in … ›

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Wen Fa


Wen Fa is an attorney at PLF’s national headquarters. He has litigated numerous direct-rep cases dealing with private property, equality under the law, school choice, economic liberty, and the First … ›

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Oliver J. Dunford


Oliver Dunford joined PLF’s office in Sacramento in March 2017. He litigates across the country to defend and advance individual liberty and the rule of law. Oliver’s cases involve the … ›

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Chris Kieser


Chris Kieser is an previous PLF Law Clerk rejoining staff as an attorney. Kieser practices primarily in PLF’s property rights group, where he defends the right to use one’s private … ›

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Case Commentary

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De Blasio’s attempt to reduce the number of Asian-American students in the Discovery Program is unconstitutional

Originally published by the Daily News, December 15, 2018. New York City’s specialized high schools are the envy of the nation. Schools like Stuyvesant, Bronx Science and Brooklyn Tech provide … ›

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By Chris Kieser

Parents sue to stop Mayor de Blasio’s racial discrimination in NYC schools

New York’s specialized high schools are the crown jewel of the city’s public education system. Including nationally recognized schools like Stuyvesant High School, the Bronx High School of Science, and … ›

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