West Point sued over using race as an admissions factor in the wake of landmark Supreme Court ruling

By The Canadian Press

Published 2:15 PDT, Tue September 19, 2023

West Point was sued in federal court Tuesday for using race and ethnicity as factors in admissions by the same group behind the lawsuit that resulted in the U.S. Supreme Court striking down affirmative action in college admissions.

Students for Fair Admissions claims the U.S. Military Academy improperly uses benchmarks for how many Black, Hispanic and Asian cadets there should be in each class. The lawsuit filed in New York City claims West Point is violating the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which contains an equal-protection principle that binds the federal government.

“Instead of admitting future cadets based on objective metrics and leadership potential, West Point focuses on race,” according to the complaint.

The academy said in a prepared statement that it “does not comment on ongoing investigations to protect the integrity of its outcome for all parties involved.”

West Point has made increased efforts to diversify its ranks in recent years. Minority enrollment was about 38 per cent for the class that entered the academy north of New York City this summer.

The filing comes after the Supreme Court in June struck down affirmative action in college admissions, forcing institutions of higher education to look for new ways to achieve diverse student bodies. The court’s conservative majority invalidated admissions plans at Harvard University, and the University of North Carolina, the nation’s oldest private and public colleges, respectively. 

That ruling did not cover West Point and the nation's other military academies. 

But Edward Blum, president of SFFA, said in a prepared statement that with the recent high court decision, "it must follow that the U.S. military’s higher education institutions must end their race-based policies as well.”

“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," Blum 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.”

– Michael Hill, The Associated Press

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