Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) filed a lawsuit against the military academy West Point Tuesday alleging that the school is violating the Fifth Amendment’s equal protection clause by using race-based admissions policies.
The Supreme Court ruled against Harvard and the University of North Carolina in June in a 6-3 decision, arguing that a “student must be treated based on his or her experiences as an individual—not on the basis of race.” SFFA, who represented the plaintiffs in the previous cases, sued the military academy, arguing that the Supreme Court’s decision should apply to all schools. (RELATED: University Faces Civil Rights Complaint For Race-Base Scholarship Program)
“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,” Edward Blum, president of SFFA said in a press release. “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.”
A West Point spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation that the academy doesn’t comment on pending litigation “to protect the integrity of its outcome for all parties involved.“
The lawsuit argues that instead of basing admissions on “objective metrics and leadership potential” the academy’s administrators had instead opted for discriminating on the basis of race. It notes the school’s “benchmarks” for the amount of students in each class that should be made up of “African Americans,” “Hispanics,” and “Asians.”
“Because skin color can be—and often is—a decisive factor for successful applicants who are chosen from those congressional nominee pools, it is equally dispositive for the other qualified nominees who are turned away,” SFFA argues. “Put differently, because race is a ‘positive’ factor for some West Point applicants, it is necessarily a ‘negative’ factor for others.”
SFFA criticized the military’s justification for the racial quotas, saying that these kinds of policies insinuate that all minorities think alike. The lawsuit also dismissed the academy’s claim that these policies were needed in order to gain legitimacy in a “diverse nation,” noting that a country’s military should not be considered trustworthy only because of its racial make up.
The lawsuit asks that the court issue a “declaratory judgment that West Point’s use of race in admissions is unconstitutional under the Fifth Amendment” and that it grant a preliminary injunction barring the academy from enforcing the policy while the lawsuit goes through the court system.
“Because the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent opinion in the SFFA cases expressly forbids all institutions of higher education from using race in admissions decisions, it must follow that the U. S. military higher education institutions must end their race-based policies as well,” Blum said.
This article has been updated with comment from West Point.
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