West Point defended using race in its admissions process in response to a student group’s request that the Supreme Court force the military academy to pause the practice while a lawsuit makes its way through lower courts.
“For more than forty years, our Nation’s military leaders have determined that a diverse Army officer corps is a national-security imperative,” U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar wrote in a Tuesday court filing.
“Achieving that diversity requires limited consideration of race in selecting those who join the Army as cadets at the United States Military Academy at West Point.”
In June, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) in its lawsuits against Harvard University and the University of North Carolina, finding that considering race during the college admissions process violated the Constitution’s equal protection clause.
But the landmark ruling that effectively ended affirmative action did not apply to the nation’s military academies.
SFFA filed lawsuits against West Point and the Naval Academy in September seeking to eliminate the exception, arguing the same Fifth Amendment protections also apply to military academies.
In an emergency application for an injunction pending appeal filed last week, SFFA argues West Point is not “exempt” from the Harvard ruling.
The application claims two White West Point applicants the group is representing will suffer “irreparable harm” if an injunction is not granted because the academy will “illegally discriminate against thousands of applicants for the class of 2028—including two of 26 SFFA’s members—based on their skin color.”
“Should these young Americans bear the burden of West Point’s unchecked racial discrimination? Or should West Point bear the burden of temporarily complying with the Constitution’s command of racial equality?” SFFA lawyers wrote to the justices.
The government, in response, asked the court to deny SFFA’s request to block the academy from using race as part of its admissions process.
“The injunction SFFA seeks would force the Army to abandon policies that senior military leaders have deemed imperative to developing an effective fighting force, thereby harming ‘the public interest in national defense,’” Prelogar wrote.
The student group asked the high court to act on its request by Wednesday, which is West Point’s deadline for student applications this admissions cycle.
“Every year this case languishes in discovery, trial, or appeals, West Point will label and sort thousands more applicants based on their skin color—including the class of 2028, which West Point will start choosing in earnest once the application deadline closes on January 31,”
SFFA wrote in the court documents.. . . (read more on Fox News)