Affirmative Action Opponents Now Targeting West Point, Naval Academy Through Supreme Court

While the Supreme Court struck down affirmative action in a landmark ruling in June, the decision does not apply to military academies.

The group whose lawsuit led to the Supreme Court’s decision to ban affirmative action in higher education now has its sights on military schools, The Hill reports.

Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA), is requesting that the court block race-based admissions at West Point and the Naval Academy.

Edward Blum, a conservative legal strategist and leader of SFFA, put forth the lawsuit on behalf of two anonymous plaintiffs, who are described in court documents “as White males who want to apply to West Point over the next few years.”

“Every year this case languishes in discovery, trial, or appeals, West Point will label and sort thousands more applicants based on their skin color—including the class of 2028, which West Point will start choosing in earnest once the application deadline closes on January 31,” attorneys for the SSFA wrote in a letter to the justices on Friday (Jan. 26).

“Should these young Americans bear the burden of West Point’s unchecked racial discrimination? Or should West Point bear the burden of temporarily complying with the Constitution’s command of racial equality?” the letter continued.

Supreme Court Ends Affirmative Action in Education In Landmark Ruling

In September, the SFFA alleged in a New York federal court that “the U.S. Military Academy’s consideration of race in its admissions process violates the Constitution.” The group requested that the court place a temporary injunction to prohibit the school from considering race as a factor in admissions while the case is being argued.

The Chicago Defender reported that U.S. District Judge Philip Halpern denied that request in Jan., saying in his ruling that the SFFA wanted to require West Point to “affirmatively change and remodel” the process of admissions which had been enacted decades ago. 

In response to the ruling, Blum said that the SFFA would be “reviewing the opinion and will be taking the next steps to stop the unfair and unconstitutional racial preferences at West Point.”

Because the SFFA has not been successful in overturning the policy, the group has asked the justices to act on the emergency request by the application deadline, which is Wednesday (Jan 31).

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, one of the liberal justices of the court who oversees such emergency requests in New York, informed West Point to respond by 5 p.m. Tuesday, which is considered a quick timeline. 

With this move, Sotomayor could render a decision on SFFA’s request on her own or refer it to the entire court.

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