Thursday’s Supreme Court decision which ended the use of affirmative action in college admissions contained a carve out for military service academies, but a key Senate Republican wants to eliminate it there too.
Shortly after the ruling was announced, Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member Roger Wicker, R-Miss., took to social media to praise the court’s ruling and his aim to “further prohibit our military service academies from engaging in race-based affirmative action.”
Earlier in June, Wicker introduced his Military Merit, Fairness, and Equality Act, which would “prohibit the Department of Defense from prioritizing the demographic characteristics of service members above individual merit and demonstrated performance.” Although the military academies are not specifically mentioned in the legislation, it would cover all defense-affiliated institutions.
Wicker, who plans to offer his legislation as an amendment to the annual defense authorization bill during floor debate in July, said the move is needed to bring “fairness” back to the armed forces and refocus military leaders on lethality, readiness and other relevant force priorities.
On Friday, Rep. Tom Tiffany, R-Wisc., introduced similar language as an amendment to the House draft of the annual authorization bill, banning the Defense Department from “granting preferential treatment to any person or group based in whole or in part on race.” . . . (read more on Military Times)
The MERIT Act, if passed in this year’s NDAA, would further prohibit our military service academies from engaging in race-based affirmative action. https://t.co/ovLY0c4vJo
— Senator Roger Wicker (@SenatorWicker) June 29, 2023
[NOTE: This amendment appears to apply to DOD civilian employees, not military service members.]
AMENDMENT TO RULES COMMITTEE PRINT 118-10
OFFERED BY MR. TIFFANY OF WISCONSIN
At the appropriate place in subtitle G of title VIII, insert the following:
1 SEC. 8ll. PROHIBITION ON DISCRIMINATION.
2 (a) PROHIBITION AGAINST DISCRIMINATION AND PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no officer, employee, or agent of the Department of Defense or any element of the Department acting in the official capacity of such officer or employee or, in the case of such an agent, on behalf of the Department, may—
(1) intentionally discriminate against or grant a preference to any individual or entity with respect to employment in the Federal Government or the award of a contract or subcontract based in whole or in part on race or color; or
(2) require or encourage any contractor or subcontractor of the Federal Government to intentionally discriminate against or grant a preference to any individual or entity based in whole or in part on race or color.
(b) PROHIBITION RELATING TO RECIPIENTS OF DE2 PARTMENT OF DEFENSE FUNDS.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, as a condition of any funds awarded to a State government or any private entity by the Department of Defense or any element of the Department after the date of the enactment of this Act, the State government or private entity receiving such funds shall agree that such State government or private entity, as applicable, will not discriminate against or grant a preference to any individual or entity based on race or color, in whole or in part, with respect to—
(1) any contract or subcontract;
(2) employment; or
(3) admission to any educational institution.
(c) RULE OF CONSTRUCTION.—This section shall not be construed as affecting any law governing immigration or nationality, or the administration of such laws.