West Point Accused of Unconstitutional Race-Based Admissions Practices by SFFA.

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The United States Military Academy at West Point finds itself at the centre of a lawsuit concerning its alleged race-based admissions policies. The litigant is Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA), a conservative group, which notched significant victories over affirmative action policies in previous challenges against Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The US Supreme Court in June, delivered a landmark judgement asserting that race could no longer act as a specific determinant for college and university admissions, albeit excluding US military service academies. The move was a significant blow to affirmative action policies, which previously sought to ameliorate opportunities for historically marginalized minorities.

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The freshly filed lawsuit implores the court to label the use of race in West Point’s admission practices as unconstitutional, while advocating for a prohibition on the consideration or acknowledgement of an applicant’s race during the admissions process.

The SFFA, in its complaint, stated, “West Point lacks any justification for utilizing race-based admissions. Such admission practices are deemed unconstitutional for all other public higher education institutions. The Academy should not enjoy exemption from the Constitution.”

In response to an inquiry, a West Point spokesperson pledged to uphold the academy’s policy of refraining from commenting on ongoing legal proceedings, to maintain the integrity of the case’s outcome.

Reporting from October 2022 reiterates the diverse composition of the student body at West Point – a considerable undergraduate strength of roughly 4,400 students, encompassing multiple racial ethnicities.

The lawsuit alleges, with precise detail, that West Point adheres to benchmarks enumerating the percentage of each class that should reflect different racial profiles, and are said to trace this factor down to a tenth of a percentage point.

The lawsuit further adds that lawmakers swiftly cherrypick the applicants, with nominations from US Representatives and Senators comprising 75% of each incoming class. This process generates intense competition, with up to ten qualified applicants vying for the single slot allocated to each Senator or Representative.

The complaint goes on to allege that race becomes a significant factor, for better or worse, affecting the applicants’ prospects. The SFFA claims that two of their members, White males planning to apply to West Point, face undue disadvantage due to the racial consideration involved, curtailing their ability to compete on an equal footing.

The recent Supreme Court ruling that undermined affirmative action was determined by Chief Justice John Roberts. He stated that the Harvard and UNC admissions programs violated the Equal Protection Clause due to their lack of “measurable objectives” justifying the use of race, accusing them of racial stereotyping with no prescribed endpoint.