Times staff writer
© St. Petersburg Times, published March 9, 2000
TALLAHASSEE -- The Board of Regents is asking a judge to dismiss an NAACP legal challenge that halted Gov. Jeb Bush's plan to overhaul affirmative action in university admissions.
In a petition filed this week, the board claims that neither the NAACP nor an African-American mother and son who joined in the lawsuit to block Bush's plan have legal standing to do so.
The NAACP's legal challenge, filed Feb. 25, effectively halted Bush's Talented 20 plan three days after the state Board of Education adopted it. The Talented 20 program would guarantee admission to students who finish in the top 20 percent of their high school class. The Bush plan eliminates race- and gender-based admissions policies.
"If there is any organization that has standing to challenge these rules, it's one that has fought for almost a century for better education for African-Americans, and that's the NAACP," said attorney John D.C. Newton II, who filed the petition on behalf of the NAACP. Board attorney Bill Williams declined to comment.