On Tuesday, an anti-affirmative action group filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Military Academy at West Point over its race-based admissions process in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision overturning such practices.
As reported by Axios, the lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York by Students for Fair Admissions (SFA), the same advocacy group that ultimately ended affirmative action through two cases it had filed before the Supreme Court, Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina. In both cases, SFA successfully argued that affirmative action unfairly benefits black and Hispanic students, while disproportionately discriminating against White and Asian students.
Although the Supreme Court ruled that affirmative action – the practice of admitting students based on their race rather than their qualifications – was an unconstitutional practice, the court did allow an exception for military academies such as West Point. The lawsuit by SFA declares that military academies should also have to adhere to the same standard as public and private universities.
“West Point sets benchmarks for the percentage of each class that should be filled by ‘African Americans,’ ‘Hispanics,’ and ‘Asians,’ and it meticulously tracks its compliance with those figures,” the lawsuit states. “These racial benchmarks vary by year, based on the ever-shifting demographics of the enlisted ranks.”
In the Supreme Court’s decision in June, the 6-justice majority specifically noted the “potentially distinct interests” that military academies might have in maintaining a level of racial diversity, and thus allowed such schools to be exempt from the ruling. In her dissent, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson appeared to denounce this exemption, saying that “the Court has come to rest on the bottom-line conclusion that racial diversity in higher education is only worth potentially preserving insofar as it might be needed to prepare black Americans and other underrepresented minorities for success in the bunker, not the boardroom.”
In either case, the outcome of SFA’s new lawsuit could also apply to other prestigious military academies in the United States, including the Naval Academy and the Air Force Academy.