Anti-Affirmative Action Group Sues West Point

Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA), the organization known for its pivotal lawsuit that led to the end of affirmative action in college admissions, has shifted its focus to the United States Military Academy at West Point.

In a recent lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, SFFA alleges that West Point discriminates against white applicants in its admissions process. The Supreme Court’s ruling, authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, exempted military academies from the end of affirmative action in admissions.

Roberts justified this exemption by noting the “potentially distinct interests” of military academies. However, SFFA contends that West Point’s recent admissions practices go against the spirit of merit-based evaluations.

“For most of its history, West Point has evaluated cadets based on merit and achievement,” the lawsuit states. It highlights the importance of meritocracy in a military context, where the race of a commanding officer or a soldier’s skin color should not affect their roles or responsibilities.

The lawsuit argues that the brutal reality of the battlefield applies equally to all soldiers, regardless of race, ethnicity, or national origin. The lawsuit draws attention to the historical desegregation of the military under President Harry Truman. It accuses West Point of deviating from its merit-based approach over the past few decades.

Instead of focusing on objective metrics and leadership, SFFA claims that West Point now emphasizes race in its admissions process. The lawsuit points to West Point’s publication of racial composition “goals” and quotes the director of admissions, who allegedly stated that race is the sole determining factor for many applicants.

According to the lawsuit, West Point lacks a valid justification for using race-based admissions. It contends that such admissions practices are unconstitutional, citing the precedent set for public institutions of higher education. The lawsuit also highlights the experiences of two prospective candidates, both white, who have joined SFFA in its legal action.
These candidates possess impressive academic records, physical fitness, family ties to the military, and a deep desire to serve their country at West Point. However, they believe that their race may hinder their chances of admission, and for fear of reprisal, they have chosen to remain anonymous.

Notably, President Joe Biden has publicly encouraged the military to continue considering race in its admissions decisions despite the proven lack of benefit. Alternatively, SFFA claims that, regardless of the setting — merit and achievement should remain the primary factors in admissions, and that race should not be a determining factor.