Bucking a nationwide trend that has had one public school race-based admission policy after another fall by the wayside, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday that a popular elementary school that serves as a laboratory for the University of California can continue to consider ethnicity in deciding who to enroll.

The majority of a split Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ panel ruled that Corinne A. Seeds University Elementary School in Los Angeles has a race-based admission policy that was “narrowly tailored” and served a “compelling state interest” — two necessary, and often hard-to-prove, findings that are needed to trump the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

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