The Students for Fair Admissions in the Southern District of New York hit the U.S. Military Academy at West Point with a federal lawsuit over its “racial composition ‘goals'” — an affirmative action issue the Supreme Court recently rejected as a violation of the U.S. Constitution.
“Instead of admitting future cadets based on objective metrics and leadership potential, West Point focuses on race,” the complaint, filed on Tuesday, reads. “In fact, it openly publishes its racial composition ‘goals,’ and its director of admissions brags that race is wholly determinative for hundreds if not thousands of applicants.”
Since 1802, the lawsuit argues, West Point, “one of the crown jewels of the American military,” has trained “the future leaders of the United States Army.”
“For most of its history, West Point has evaluated cadets based on merit and achievement,” it states, but that has changed in recent decades.
“West Point has strayed from that approach,” the lawsuit claims.
As BizPac Review reported, in June, the Supreme Court labeled the practice of using race to determine who will be admitted to American colleges a violation of the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.
— BPR (@BIZPACReview) July 3, 2023
Students for Fair Admissions, a student activist group dedicated to ending affirmative action, led that policy-changing charge as well, successfully arguing that Harvard University and the University of North Carolina discriminated against Asian American applicants in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.
In a 6-3 decision, the nation’s highest court dropped the hammer on affirmative action.
“Eliminating racial discrimination means eliminating all of it,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the court’s opinion. “The student must be treated based on his or her experiences as an individual—not on the basis of race. Many universities have for too long done just the opposite.”
“That ruling did not cover West Point and the nation’s other military academies,” Fox News Digital reports. “Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote in a footnote on the majority opinion that the Supreme Court was not deciding one way or another regarding affirmation action at military academies because of ‘the potentially distinct interests that military academies may present.'”
During oral arguments before the Supreme Court in the college cases, Elizabeth Prelogar, the U.S. Solicitor General argued, “For the United States military, as I’ve explained, having a diverse officer corps is a critical national security imperative.”
In its lawsuit against West Point, which also names, among other officials, the Department of Defense and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, lawyers for Students for Fair Admissions pushed back against West Point’s racial considerations, claiming it stems from circumstances surrounding the Vietnam War.
“West Point argues that statistical parity between the racial demographics of officers and enlisted soldiers is necessary to preserve unit cohesion and ward off racial strife within units,” according to the lawsuit. “In support of that assertion, it highlights anecdotal incidents of racial tension among enlisted servicemembers during the Vietnam War, most of which occurred in a brief period from 1969 to 1972.”
“At best, it is a textbook example of conflating correlation with causation,” the lawsuit states.
According to Fox News Digital, “[A]s of 2020, 27% of Army officers were members of a racial minority, and 12.3% were Black, representing about 1 percentage point less than the Black share of the national population, according to an amicus brief filed by a group of veterans in support of the plaintiffs in the Harvard case.”
Unlike during the Vietnam era, the U.S. military “does not have a draft in effect and is currently all voluntary service.”
Given the Supreme Court ruling, “it must follow that the U.S. military’s higher education institutions must end their race-based policies as well,” Students for Fair Admissions President Edward Blum said in a prepared statement, according to Fox News Digital.
“Over the years, courts have been mindful of the military’s unique role in our nation’s life and the distinctive considerations that come with it,” he said. “However, no level of deference justifies these polarizing and disliked racial classifications and preferences in admissions to West Point or any of our service academies.”
Fox News Digital states, “West Point in recent years has made concerted efforts to diversify its ranks, with officials increasing outreach to metropolitan areas like New York City, Atlanta and Detroit. Minority enrollment was about 38% for the class of more than 1,240 that entered the academy north of New York City this summer.”
“The academy also recently complied with recommendations from a commission created by Congress to remove honors to Robert E. Lee and other Confederate officers as a way to address racial injustice,” the outlet reports.
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