West Point student group asks Supreme Court for help over race based admissions

 January 28, 2024

Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) has urgently petitioned the Supreme Court to intervene and suspend West Point's race-based admissions policy during the ongoing lawsuit.

The legal action against the military academy was initiated by SFFA in September 2023, arguing that West Point's admission policies are discriminatory on the basis of race, thereby violating the Fifth Amendment.

The situation

The SFFA previously secured a victory in a similar case at the Supreme Court in June.

The emergency petition specifically requests the Supreme Court to prohibit West Point from considering an applicant's race as a factor in admissions decisions while the lawsuit undergoes the appeals process in the lower court.

This move comes after a lower court, on January 3, declined to grant a preliminary injunction requested by SFFA, citing the case's perceived lack of likelihood to succeed on its merits.

The petition

The petition challenges the lower court's decision, pointing out that it deemed SFFA unlikely to succeed on the merits not because West Point's use of race was constitutionally sound but due to a purported lack of a "full factual record."

The petition questions why the court did not elaborate on the specific facts preventing it from making predictions about the case's merits during the preliminary injunction stage.

Edward Blum, President of SFFA, conveyed his hope that the Supreme Court would intervene to prohibit West Point from employing racial classifications and preferences in its admissions process.

Blum argued that such practices are fundamentally at odds with the mission and principles of the nation's military institutions.

Next steps

SFFA achieved a landmark victory in June 2023 when the Supreme Court ruled against Harvard University and the University of North Carolina, determining that race-based admissions violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Despite this legal precedent, the Biden administration encouraged colleges to persist in incorporating race into their admissions processes.

In the aftermath of the Supreme Court's decision, various educational institutions have taken steps to reevaluate and restructure their diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) departments.

Several state legislatures have introduced bills aimed at curbing DEI practices within higher education, reflecting the broader impact of legal rulings on admission policies and institutional diversity initiatives.

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